Today like most days has been quite busy with email inquiries, prospective phone calls and a touch of social media madness. To be honest, the past few weeks at 210 have been quite busy as I have been deep in the canyons of WordPress working on Custom sites for many customers. But, as my clients know, I am pretty meticulous at returning all phone and email contacts within 24 hours of receiving them. While this is a blessing to my clients to always receive such prompt attention it is also a detriment to my health at times as I will sometimes stay up till three in the morning replying to email.
Today as I was returning emails & calls I received from the morning and one of the calls that came in seemed like a great potential new client. The message said:
My name is Richard ——- in Denver. It’s Thursday morning about 10:15 and I’d like to talk to you about your services when you get a chance. My number is ***-***-**** . Thanks very much.
So I gave Richard a call back expecting it to be someone needing services. The conversation began with some small chat about where he’s from and where I live and the weather and then we got into business. He asked first if our business was being social media advisors for clients. I said yes, we do advise businesses on how to use social media properly in addition to building sites, working on SEO for current sites, etc. At this point the conversation starting going way downhill.
The conversation suddenly switched from me helping his business with their social media needs to his business trying to pitch me their product to sell to my client database. The product itself was pretty much junk. It was some Yelp review scraper that would email you daily if any new reviews were written about your business. I asked “Couldn’t this be done with a Google Alert?” He responded that yes, it could be, but that it wouldn’t include a nice graph in the email like his does. I then asked, “doesn’t Yelp already have the same graph of information? To which he replied that it did.
So when I asked what benefit this had to my clients he basically just went on trying to pitch the product which I kept shooting down. So, I finally thanked him for wasting 25 minutes of my time and that I needed to move on to my clients that actually wanted my services.
Classic Bait and Switch
We’ve all heard of classic bait and switch stories by used car salesmen, and other brands. In essence, this is what this gentleman was trying to do to me by asking for help knowing it would get me on the phone so he could then try to sell his product to me. But what was missing is that he had no connection to me and he did a really poor job trying to form that before pitching a product. What bothered me even more was that he acted like a person in need just to get me on the phone.
As Scott Stratten says, “someone who buys your product because you threaten to punch them doesn’t make you a good salesman. It just makes you a bully.” As my friend Liz Strauss would say, she “wants relationships not blog post offers.” The world of marketing is evolving. It’s no longer effective to try bait & switch methods, or squeeze pages that pop up 13 times begging you to not leave the page, or MLM schemes where I get 100 of my closest friends to join and we all make millions of dollars. True success in business comes from forming meaningful relationships with others.
In the future I hope that this guy learns that trying to sell his crappy social product in the manner he has been using is not effective. As Chris Brogan shared recently, business needs to be humanized. It’s time to stop treating consumers as robots that will just take what you put into them and to start treating them as actual people who need a valuable product that can see through the smoke and mirrors.
3 Steps To Success:
- If your selling crap, stop trying to sell it and revise your product or service into something that offers true value. Stop pitching why they need this and instead make the product/service so awesome that everyone will want to purchase it because it actually helps better their lives.
- Engage consumers and treat them as actual humans that you want to help with this product. People want to feel important and cared about. A business that does that will benefit greatly even if they don’t have the best service or product on the market. People will pick service over a slightly better product because they can connect to that company better.
- Be upfront with your intentions. If you want to sell a product to a vendor, then say that when you engage them. Many like myself are very busy during the day. My time is the most expensive thing I have. It’s limited daily and I really do not like wasting it on things that I feel I’ve been duped into. If you want to sell me something, great! Make that point known in the beginning. If your product interests me, I will call back, but it won’t be in during prime hours. That is and always will be set aside for my clients. They are my family and I treat them with the best care possible. It’s what makes them write great recommendations for me.
In closing, be upfront, be honest and be real. Is that too much to ask?