Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Potential Clients, Homework, and You

You get calls from companies soliciting you, right? Yeah, you’re on the do-not-call list; however, that doesn't stop them. A carpet cleaning service calls my home phone all the time.

A few months back I was doing some business with LegalZoom and must have checked something off in an email that stated I’d be okay for businesses they partner with to contact me. So one local business did just that and started calling my business line about three months ago. 

The first time they called I answered it; listened for a moment, told him I was running out the door and could he call the following week? Of course, I completely forgot about the “appointment” and was, indeed, terribly busy. I politely begged off. 

After that, I stopped answering his calls. But then the reinforcements were called in. The owner of the business started leaving messages. And then, suddenly the avalanche of calls finally stopped.

Sigh of relief.

Little did I know it was just a tactic to catch me off-guard.

Working quietly at my desk in the late afternoon, the phone rang. Picked it up without looking at the return number and said hello. “Hi, I’m Richard Perry* and I’ve been trying to reach you for a while now. I can help you with your SEO! You just need twenty keywords…” …”Is that right?” I responded, then adding “What’s THAT going to cost me?”

Asking him a question was a BIG mistake…”blah blah blah…and you need a marketing specialist…” 

First I thought I didn’t hear him correctly. Sadly, I realized he was telling ME, someone who is well-seasoned in the marketing world that I NEED someone who likely has far less experience than me! 

Held back attacking him Jersey style. Instead, I spewed out something about my background and then gently told him outright that he had insulted me and our conversation was over. Seconds before I hit the OFF key on the phone I heard “Are you having a bad day?”

A low score on that phone call!
Wow! This pathetic phone call could have been a success for him if he had bothered to do a quick internet search and spend five minutes of his time doing a little homework. He already KNEW my name. He would have found my LinkedIn profile and within minutes a grasp at the type of work I do, my education level, and much more. From there, he could follow the link to my website, blog, or Twitter account.

Let’s say he went to my Twitter account and read my bio. He’d see that I like sushi. That would have been the perfect ice breaker to get through to me. Since he was calling from two towns away, he could have said…”Have you ever been to the Fish-o-Hama Grill? Their tuna is so fresh.” 

Or maybe go to my blog, scan the last two posts, and make a comment to me about one, thereby showing some interest in me?
It’s THAT simple. Take the time and learn who your potential client is. The info is out there and it’s free!
Do your homework and you'll get a good grade from me.

Afterwards, I summarized the event and posted on Facebook about it. Got lots of great feedback: Apparently I’m not the only one getting lame calls like this one!
The J Geils Band sang about not doing their homework. Click here, enjoy this rockin’ song and don’t take their advice! 

* Not his real name.


Guy Sharwood said...

Oh boy, Gerry. My wife and I can relate about these callers that get around the do-not-call list. I know a guy who gets calls like this all the time. He says he'll go find the lady of the house, then puts them on hold while he reads. Then he'll put them on hold again while he turns on the TV...

Gerry Wendel said...

Well, this guy wasn't a do-not-caller. It was perfectly legit for him to call. For the do-not-callers I offer them some rather off-color advice before hanging up. Also reporting one to the FCC.

Shannon Grissom said...

Yes! Homework is so important.

Anonymous said...

Good advice as always Gerry, thanks for sharing :)