Just feel I should write today about making a silly business mistake!
I didn’t take my own advice (“Don’t Cold Call, Ever”), and paid the price.
Think I was buoyed up by an excess of caffeine and/or adrenaline from my morning networking meeting, and decided to make a cold call into a shop in my local town, for what I thought were all the right reasons! I had tried to catch this particular lady on several previous occasions with no success.
My Marketing4Business venture has been going for some months now, and is finally starting to gain “critical momentum”, and I had decided at the turn of the year that I wanted to be able to help my local community, and maybe contribute my services in some way to the immense efforts of those running our local Farmers Markets and Artists Shop – so that was what I wanted to talk to her about.
However, I blundered in to the shop & caught her serving behind the counter. I introduced myself, and asked if I could have an appointment to come and see her another time. She asked what it was about, wary of the start of a sales pitch! I don’t like sales pitches, so I don’t do sales pitches, and I wasn’t comfortable with launching into any sort of detail in the middle of a shop with a few customers in it!
I tried to explain that I had personally toured the market on a few occasions recently and noticed that there didn’t seem to be any sort of a box scheme which would allow me to buy a number of items from the various stalls – maybe a week’s worth of the various meat, veg, cheese & olive offerings – to collect later in the day. I had a particular type of box in mind, but we never got that far. She jumped in and said they had costed up a box scheme, for delivery to the door, and had decided it wasn’t viable!
I thought at this stage, maybe they didn’t want to cross horns with the local organic veg box scheme organiser, who she already knew, but I thought since the market goods were varied, and not all veg OR organic, and were going to be sold from the stalls anyway, there wasn’t going to be direct competition. However, all this rationale could not come out because I was not aiming to spout it in her shop environment! I made the fatal mistake here of obstructing one of her customers from getting to her at the till, until she looked over my shoulder, and I saw what was intended to occur, and stood aside.
She assured me that the market had been going for over two years now, and they thought they had got it about right (“so buzz off & stop interfering” was the inference). I took this on board, having no intention of trying to sell ice to Eskimos, and decided now was the time to bow out! I added that it was my intention to try to make my local town a truly “connected community”, so hoped we would meet again at some point. I really believe we have an ideal opportunity to increase the use of Twitter in our local area, and am banging that particular drum slowly but surely, whenever I get the opportunity. For this I was rebuked as “talking too much jargon” – again, certainly not going to get into any further interaction with her, I left politely, but she still felt it necessary to have the last word, so I let her!
I was determined after this event, NOT to feel a failure, because I hadn’t got my point across, but to LEARN from the experience, and move on. I was, and still am, convinced that I would be able to simply help local trades-people to Get More Sales in our challenging economy, that’s what Marketing is all about!
I had made the fatal mistake of thinking that because I had become comfortable with preaching my intentions to my (warm & receptive) networking associates, I could somehow help out without it sounding like a sales pitch. FAIL! No, not fail; LEARN!!
I hate Hard Sell and Cold Calls, and am firmly convinced that the time for both has come & gone – we are now in a much more “Feminine” Economy, where nurturing of business relationships is far more important than just “getting a sale”, and where growth comes from “Meet, Like, Trust”, instead of just taking the same message from door to door, or shop to shop, expecting that the law of numbers means that “every 15 calls will lead to 1 sale”.
So, a very big Thank You to the lady for helping me learn a lesson!
What was it?
When you step out of your network, or comfort zone, remember NOT to talk in the jargon you can safely use there – friends, prospects, clients don’t understand until you explain to them IN THEIR LANGUAGE.
In the New World of Relationship Marketing, build the Relationship first!
This post is offered by way of repentance.
Howard J Moorey
February 20, 2009