What rights does an incoming caller have? To be more specific, an incoming solicitor calling a place of business?
At home, we have the do-not-call list. This could never be put into effect for business, nor do I think anyone sane would see it as a good idea. Business would halt.
The general consensus that I have gathered is that callers to your home have no rights. Hanging up on them is acceptable with a simple “no thank you” is status quo. This I find fascinating. When I polled regarding a caller to a business environment, the treatment is different. Recipients of call to a business environment report that they will listen 1-2 minutes before exiting from a call they don’t want. Some reasons why at home and office:
Home is sacred, people feel invaded and justified to not give up their home time
It’s usually at the end of the day, evening, people want to relax
Non equivalence. You are home, the caller is at work
At the Office
Professionalism. The Golden Rule.
Equivalence. You are both in a work environment
You may be calling them tomorrow
You really may be interested in their service
In essence, this is a philosophical question. What is your corporate belief system? What is your personal belief system? For me, today was back to back scheduled meetings and three solicitors got past my gatekeeper. Rare. It inspired this blog and reminded me of one of my beliefs:
“I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead.
Of the three in-bound calls, one lied to my gatekeeper to get to me. This is plain stupid. Alienate the person who manages my schedule. The other two reached me while everyone else was at lunch. Not one of the three had a coherent message. How much of my time did they get? Less than five seconds. Did I hang up on them? No. There is another option!
About three months ago, in talking with our administrative staff, I came up with the idea for line 1300.
If you end up in line 1300, you get a recording that sound something like this:
“Hello. You have have reached line 1300 at Broadlook Technologies because you were either unclear or perhaps rude in your outreach. This is your chance to get it right. At the sound of the tone please leave a clear, articulate message detailing how your product or service is right for Broadlook. We listen to this voicemail box once per week. If we are interested we will contact you. Thank you.”
What does line 1300 do? It empower the people that support me. They do not have to take crap from rude callers. It gives your staff an immediate out from a monotonous, unclear, script-reading telemarketer. In addition, it covers the litmus test of professionalism. We DO listen to 1300 once per week.
Line 1300 is NOT about being mean. It is fair. Personally I give sales a step by step guide on how to sell to me. If they don’t follow it, line 1300.
Try adding a line 1300. Your staff will love your for it.
The definition and very nature of contact information is changing.
Why is this important? If you are not able to connect with people, you cannot sell to them, you cannot recruit them, you cannot market to them. As I talked about in the video intro, things are changing. If there was a contact information historian, it would be me.
What gets me irritated is when something gets reported as the “next best thing”, when in reality, it is simply, the next, extremely predictable innovation in a continuum. In this blog, I’m going to play part historian, part reporter and part futurist as it relates to contact information. When the “next big thing” happens, and I’m including social networks, you probably won’t be surprised.
First, a definition is in order. What is Contact Information? I define it as:
“an information venue that facilitates communication with a person”
Why am I spending my time doing this? My day job is steering the ship at Broadlook Technologies. Broadlook provides technology that empowers sales and recruiting professionals with contacts at corporations. To stay ahead, we must innovate. To innovate, we must research. To research we must watch, listen, learn, explore and dream a little.
One interesting aspect about contact information is that very rarely does a new form replace an old form. For example, with the advent of SMS (or texting) people are still using email; perhaps not as much, but they are using both. Even faxes have not been fully replaced by email. In some cases, legal wants the paperwork. Take it a step farther and faxes are not enough and good old paper mail is still being used. What does that mean?
1. The nature of new venues of contact information is additive.
2. New venues lead to more specialized usage of existing venues.
3. The nature of contact information must be part of system design.
Why is this stuff, in turn, important? Example: If you are designing a CRM for holding contact information and you “hard code” (design something inflexible) to store phone, fax, email and that’s it…big problem. Each time a new type of contact information is created, a hard-coded CRM would have to be updated and reprogrammed. Some may think that a SaaS model overcomes this, but it does not. A good CRM will have the changing nature of contact information built into it’s design and not solve it with revisions.
“A good CRM will take into account the changing nature of contact information and design for that nature from the start and not solve it with revisions.”
Don’t get caught up in the naming of things with words, it gets confusing. Words change the very nature of how we think about something. It is “this”, therefore it is “that”. Now, a tree is a tree and a rock is a rock, unless you are in some altered state on consciousness, but we won’t go there. I’m focused on the newcomer words that are still in flux. Too often it is herd mentality that gives new things their name.
Today I stared on my iPhone, Blackberry, GPhone and Palm pre on my desk and ask myself “what are these?”
Cell Phones, Mobile Devices or Mobile Computers?
My company, Broadlook is developing software for mobile devices and I needed to have all of them. I’m also a gadget freak, so I enjoy having all of them. Perhaps the collection of them, together, was odd and put me into a bit of a trance.
In 2002, I was excited to get phone calls or even emails from anyone. My company was a start-up. 2 guys in a office with a dog and a bunch of computer servers.
Today it is different. Perhaps I am partly to blame. My contact information is on the Broadlook website, I’m the registration contact for 100’s of domains, and I freely put all my contact information into my email signature.
And…yes, my company, Broadlook, makes software that pulls information from the Internet to empower sales and recruiting professionals. Again, I am guilty, but having my contact information is not an excuse to sell badly to me.
Here is a secret: I love being sold to. Truly being sold to means that somebody has done their homework, looked at my needs, my company needs and has a solution to my pain. To save those hundreds of sales reps time, I’ve decided to (1) define the rules of engagement of how to sell to me and (2) post them on my corporate bio. If you follow the rules, I promise I will respond. It may be an email that only says “no thank you”. Or try me next quarter, but if you take the time, I will take the time.
I like the transparency of establishing the rules of engagement. When I passed this idea by a few of my peers, leaders in both small and large companies, they all liked the idea of establishing the engagement rules and being transparent. My rules are not the next persons rules; they are mine. Everyone should craft their own and make them transparent. If more people did this, selling would be so much more efficient and enjoyable, for both sides. Imagine that!
In order to sell at a high level, you need more than an email address. Perhaps having Broadlook’s lead generation tools at my disposal for the last 7 years has spoiled me. When I reach out to someone, I know something about them and I always personalize my message.
I titled this blog verbosely so people looking to sell to me would find it. SEO stuff. We’ll see where it lands…
Rules to sell to Donato Diorio
Get my name right. I can see how people mistake my first name for a last name, but it’s not brain surgery. It shows respect.
Personalize. I will not respond to a mass emails. Period.
Understand what my company (Broadlook) does. Can you believe that there is some idiot out there that keeps trying to sell me a list of recruiting firms? Talk about selling ice to an Eskimo.
Show me that I am special. Customize your sales pitch for my company. Don’t use generalities. Research what my company does and ask me good questions. I don’t have a burning need to seek others approval, but if you take the time to tell me.
Call and email. You will probably get voice mail, but I will listen to it. The email will give me your contact information if I like what I hear. Tell me you will also be sending me an email. Be articulate, gosh, I’m sorry, but if your accent is so heavy that I have to listen to your voice mail a few times to understand it, it will get deleted at the very beginning.
In your voice mail, say your phone number two times. Give me a chance to write it down if I like what I hear.
Don’t use a voice mail script. If you do, you are not at the level yet to successfully sell to me. Try again next year.
Don’t use a negative sell. i.e. The economy is bad, and you can help. Bad for who? Do your homework. I’m an optimist. I love hanging up on pessimists. Realists welcome.
Know your product inside out. If you can’t answer nearly all my questions, you should not be reaching out to me. Have you manager or top sales rep do it.
Don’t call me if someone else at my company makes the decision. I don’t make the decisions on office supplies.
Did I mention… get my name right?
Here is the email that put me over the top to write this blog. It was nth in a series, polite but impersonal. I will not be working with this company.
Hope you are doing fine. (does he really?) (the DELETE button was pressed when my eyes hit this line)
This is with reference to my previous mail dated 4th March 2009. (reminding me of his spam) I hope you have received it. I eagerly await your reply as I look forward to exploring a potential business opportunity with your company , which I am sure would prove to be mutually beneficial. (he has no clue what Broadlook does)
Please let me know your interest and your availability for a short introductory call at a time that would best suit your schedule. During the call, I would primarily like to introduce XXXXXXXXX, our services, capabilities and address any specific queries that you may have.
Eagerly awaiting your reply. (and 50,000 others he spammed)
It’s Saturday, I’m in at the office and I have 350+ emails in my in-box. Arghhh. I took a 1/2 day off on Friday to be the helper at my daughters school…so I got behind. However, 350 emails is just crazy.
Here is approximately how the numbers broken down.
50 legitimate business emails. These are client, partners and prospects that I want to communicate with
5 personal emails.
10 alerts from various services
120 LinkedIN invitations. No problem here, but I don’t need to see these in my inbox.
30 invites to various webinars. Most of these are from legitimate business connections that somehow decided I should go on a general distribution list.
50 requests from other social networks.
75 absolute unwanted spam messages.
Somehow I let my in-box get away from me. I lost track of best practices. Anyone with some ideas on managing an out-of-control inbox, I want to hear from you. This blog is part 1. In part 2, I post the solutions & suggestions that I gather over the coming weeks. Part 2 will only be posted once I get back control of my email inbox.
For those about to send me suggestions. I already make good use of filters and I have a professional email spam-blocking service that I am happy with. The spams I am getting are from contacts that somehow make the conceptual leap from being a business connection to putting me on their distribution lists.
Idea: wouldn’t it be nice to have a program that took all webinars and events emails and only shows you ones that fit your schedule? hmmm