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John O’Dell & Michael Bloxton - Cink

John O’Dell|Michael Bloxton

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What happens when a couple of entrepreneurial computer guys get together? They create a Cloud-based business development software application that aligns personal interests with business, sales and mapping efficiencies. Russ interviews chairman and CEO John O’Dell and president Michael Bloxton, co-founders of Cink.

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Russ: This is The BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at TheBusinessMakers.com. It's guest time on the show and I have with me John O'Dell and Michael Bloxton. John, CEO and Chairman and Michael, President, both Co-founders of Cink. Guys, welcome to The BusinessMakers Show.

John: Thanks Russ.

Russ: You bet. Well tell us about Cink.

Michael: Cink is a strategic sales software that really helps the individual sales person identify what they're really passionate about, helps them understand how they can use that for business development. If I were to shorten that up, I'd say it's really about making a sales person more effective and then more efficient.

Russ: Really cool, okay. And, uh, Cink, we're talking about, uh, very early stage here, right?

John: Well today is a very special day for us because it's actually being released to the marketplace today (Russ: cool, all right). So Russ you couldn't have planned this better (Russ: all right, cool, cool) and I want to add to what Michael said, that Cink is a software. A lot of sales people are used to using CRMs, used to using Outlook, used to having some repository for all of their contacts, their prospects, etcetera.

Russ: Right.

John: What we're doing with Cink is completely focused on the business development part of that person's life.

Russ: Okay.

John: So, not only do you have your contact database - your clients, your prospects, your suspects in a database - but you have them mapped; geographically now you can see them and it literally comes to life for you, uh, on the maps.

Russ: Okay. Now, uh, just for clarity, how do you spell Cink?

John: Well that's easy, C - I - N - K (Russ: of course it's easy). And - and it's a - it's a play on synchronizing (Russ: okay) your business development life with your interests (Russ: okay) and Michael was referring to that just a moment ago.

Russ: Okay. Now I think - from a little bit of background research - both of you guys have a little history in sales, right?

Michael: Mmhm

Russ: Okay. So where did the idea, uh, of Cink evolve? Was it in you sales activity?

John: Well actually, I served for eight and a half years as the Director of Alumni Development at the business school at the University of Houston - the Bauer College of Business - and I was challenged with having fifty thousand alumni to keep track of. And so I resorted at one point in time to trying to map those that were most active.

Russ: Okay

John: I found limitations in the options available to actually map people so that I could see them geographically and I dropped that project a few years ago. So when I met Michael earlier this year - Michael has, uh, an expertise in Internet Marketing - and the two of us got to talking and out of all of that came Cink.

Michael: You know, when we look at the effectiveness side of what we do (Russ: right), it's about helping the individual identify better business development opportunities - getting you ladder on the right wall. And John, being, uh, one of the good ole boys, he had that - the - the veteran sales person who never comes in the office (Russ: right), you know, cause they're always on the golf course doing business, well that was John (Russ: right). So I saw an opportunity as me as a younger sales person to see him and how do we take what he had - the technology stuff, we haven't touched on yet, but that's really, really cool stuff.

Russ: Okay. Well, in fact, touching briefly on the technology, I mean I would assume that perhaps one competitor is Outlook - Microsoft Outlook; is that right?

John: Well actually a lot of people ask us about competition and there are a lot of users of Outlook - including me (Russ: yes there are) - and I learned a long time ago how to categorize my connections in Outlook so that I could find all of the - the people of a certain subgroup.

Russ: Right.

John: The difference here is in addition to the typical fields of name, title, address, etcetera, we have intelligence fields that we urge our users to fill in. So things like the link to their LinkedIn profile - to the - to the client's LinkedIn profile; things like the university that the, uh, contact went to, uh, the organizations and activities that the contact is involved in. These are important pieces of intelligence that help you one, identify prospects but two, communicate with them more effectively.

Russ: Okay.

John: So, we go deeper than Outlook and then of course Outlook doesn't map. We have the automatic mapping functionality which puts you in control of geography.

Russ: And you really emphasize this mapping capability. Tell - tell me what your experience was that you thought man, I need to know that information (talking over each other). Maybe - maybe I - maybe I - well maybe I don't see it cause I - I was an inefficient sales person. When there was a prospect I didn't care how far I had to go to get to them and who I went by there and - and I was crisscrossing all the time, but…

John: Russ, that's perfect.

Russ: Okay, okay.

John: Here's the deal, anyone out there that has been in - in sales (Russ: right), we have all driven to an appointment, had a - an appointment - a meeting (Russ: right) and driven away from there only to remember someone that was right down (Russ: right) the street from where we just left (Russ: right) that if only we had thought ahead (Russ: right) and arranged a meeting it probably would have happened too (Russ: right). So geographic efficiency is one of the teachings that we have (Russ: okay), uh, and actually utilizing our concepts and our mapping tools, there's no reason why the typical person wouldn't have three to five meetings a week (Russ: okay) out of geographic efficiency (Russ: okay) and convenience. One of the things that we really stress here is aligning your own personal interests and activities with your business development activity as much as you can.

Russ: Okay.

John: So the idea that if you're an avid whatever, there are other people that are avid about it also (Russ: okay); so whether that's the local rotary club (Russ: right), your Chamber of Commerce (Russ: right), your university alumni (Russ: right), a sport (Russ: right), your children's activities (Russ: right), once we point these things out to our clients and they get clear about what their interests are and they see how they can align more of their customer development in alignment with those interests, now it starts to be a lot more fun.

Russ: Well that's interesting because, uh, obviously all of those things ultimately play a roll because when you're - w-when you're connecting with a prospect, you like to really connect, I'm just and Outlook guy, so there was a free form box where you could go start plugging this stuff in but it didn't - it didn't remind you that you needed to put those sorts of things so that's pretty cool. I give you a thumbs up on that application.

John: Good, good, good.

Michael: To leverage off of what you were saying, um, Outlook - Outlook is a database for sure (Russ: right). I think one of the things that, um, a lot of people bring up when they're talking about competition is CRMS - Customer Relationship Management Sales force (Russ: right, right, right). All of them are really good, they're great, great systems and what - if you look at them they were - they're this much (Russ: right) and they're built to be a customer relationship manager; meaning they've got billing in here, they've got executive things in here, they've got some marketing stuff in here and there big systems that - we use one. Uh - uh, we have a - a great CRM and a great system. But if you look at what the sales person needs - what they need at the right time and the right moment is - is usually about this much of the CRM, whereas our whole focus is what does a sales person need, how do they access information?

Russ: I mean, when you keep talking about individual sales people, is that who you sign the order with or do you still go to the President of the company and he buys it for his ten or twenty sales people?

John: Well actually, I believe as we just now - as we said today are launching the product - I believe there will - there will be a lot of sales people who work for large companies who will personally sign up (Russ: okay) and subscribe to use Cink (Russ: okay). Uh, they bought their own iPad, they didn't wait for their company to get iPads. They subscribe to LinkedIn instead of use the free LinkedIn because they know the value that's there. So, clearly though there are millions of entrepreneurs, business owners who they are their sales force (Russ: right), if they don't go get new business, there's no one else that's gonna do it. So, uh, Michael and I became partners because we share a common passion for the individual.

Russ: Okay.

John: We really want to reach the people that are committed to themselves to be as productive as they can be; that's our target customer.

Russ: Okay, so how are you gonna get to them?

Michael: Well I think one of the things about internet marketing, the biggest principle that I learned is your opinion doesn't matter (Russ: okay). And you might like this color, that color and this - the way this looks - it doesn't matter. If they don't' click on it, you're not gonna get it done so one of the - one of the things that we're instilling in our culture is our - of our company is it's about the individual; let them speak to us. And we've done, uh, a pilot with, uh, Insperity - which is a great company - they supported us tremendously in - in this early stage and we listened, you know. What's working? From city to city we shifted our training and we shifted the way that we thought about our software; we really thought from their perspective. And I think that'll show up in our marketing so we have, uh, great, great things coming on with, uh, email marketing. We've got a - a really, uh, what I'm actually excited about right this very moment is our referral partner program and instead of, you know, paying the Googles and the Bings thirty percent to acquire a customer, why not turn around and give it to the sales person who's raving about our software.

Russ: Cool, really cool. Okay, so, uh, lets say I'm and interested prospect, what's it gonna cost me?

John: Well, as an individual, you're gonna have a one-time onboarding fee, $497.00. In that comes a lot of training, we have all of our training modules already taped, they're already online.

Russ: Training on the product?

John: On the concepts.

Russ: Okay.

John: The concepts, it's very important (Russ: okay) because the product can be utilized effectively once you're really focused on what you want to do in terms of your new approach to business development (Russ: okay). So we go through the concepts of connections and of aligning your interest and your business development activities for instance.

Michael: Let's go - let's go into that a little bit more. I think one of the things that was just a shocker to John and I was you had some of these veterans who knew who all of their centers of influence were and they were just kind of going through the motions, they knew they'd get so many deals every single month; we were able to take these concepts that we're talking about in this training - and ninety percent of the training is about these concepts of effectiveness, getting them to talk to the right people.

Russ: Cool.

John: So anyway, um, the strategies; how to use geographic strategy (Russ: okay) we've already talked about - add three to five meetings a week. What does - what is that going to do to your quarterly production? So a whole lot of our onboarding and training is that way (Russ: okay), is about those things. Then the learning how to use our tool is fairly simple.

Russ: Okay, so there's $497.00, which is an onboarding fee, is that it?

John: No, then there's a subscription fee (Russ: okay), $47.00 a month (Russ: okay) and that's - ours is software in the cloud, we will continue to add more features to it, uh, and we have all of your data securely, uh, in our system. You can access it from any computer, from you iPad, so i-it is an ongoing subscription.

Russ: Let's say somebody's tuned in right now and they say whoo, I'm interested, how do they find you?

John: getincink.com

Russ: Okay.

John: That is our website, getincik.com

Russ: And that - and that's g - e - t - i - n - c - i - n - k.com

John: That's correct, that's correct.

Russ: Cool. All right guys, John O'Dell, Michael Bloxton, I really appreciate you coming in and telling us your story.

John: Russ it's been a pleasure.

Michael: Thank you for having us.

Russ: You bet and since you're such early stage I want to stay in touch and perhaps get an update in the not to distant future.

John: Yeah, we'll be back in 6 months.

Russ: All right, all right. That's John O'Dell and Michael Bloxton of Cink and this is The BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at TheBusinessMakers.com.

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