When it comes to recommendations and then meeting or receiving calls from people for the first time, it is very important to get clarity of not only how but also why they are contacting you.
Below is a real email I received last week;
I just wanted to say thank you for the webinar about the S.P.A mentoring and grant services.
I also wanted to let you know that a man called me today who represents the East Sussex and Kent area for the government grant scheme you talked about (SEIS?) where I pay £600 plus vat, then I apply for the £2000 grant scheme to expand my business and get 6 + 7 mentor/seminar meetings. I have to say his style was very much -speak loud, speak fast, to stop the client from querying anything – I felt it was rather full-on and fast-paced like a salesman…
I told him I was interested in the scheme and he wanted to set up a home/office meeting within one week, and then I asked when I was expected to pay the fee and he said as soon as I filled in the form – but when I said, well, cash flow is tight and I don’t have the funds right now (but it could be that I have the cash in a few days or even a few months) his tone suddenly changed. All of a sudden the pressing urgent hard sell became – very cool and off-hand and he said to me
“Well, you know, there’s no point in you filling it out and me taking up your time (meaning HIS time) visiting you in St Leonards on Sea if you don’t follow through with the money until Sept, because then I will probably have to change the form and make changes which wastes my time.” Ouch.
I said to him, ” Wow, well you’re really putting me off the scheme now! – I thought you’d be trying hard to keep me engaged, or even offer some encouragement as to how to get the funds in so I can take part in the scheme” I didn’t get a response – he just motored on with what he wanted to say, and then ended the call by saying he’d email the form for me to look at this afternoon.
After such a great inspiring webinar from you, I was full of beans to get stuck into new opportunities and was ready to learn about these new services open to me – but that experience on the phone today made me feel ignored, deflated and unimportant.
I know he’s not one of your employees, but his referral comes from you…
As you can imagine, I was not only confused but also angry that my name had been attached to a person/organisation who had negatively approached the person who emailed me. After 45 minutes of sharing that I would not associate myself with a company who would do a hard sales pitch and cause such negativity, I knew I had to take action.
I then contacted my key contact within a company I am working with called Growth Accelerator. They was also very unhappy about the situation and how the person who emailed me had been treated. They explained that they would deal with the issue internally so it wouldn’t happen again and the person admitted he was a little too forward and apologised.
We finally realised that the call although initially it seemed my name had been used, it wasn’t. A government scheme I had personally used and got great value that I had recommended was where the confusion came from and stopped there.
Moral of the story: Always ask how the person got your details. You need to make sure that you;
1. Feel comfortable to continue with the call
2. Have trust in moving forward because of the referral
3. You can go back and thank the person who recommended you
4. Then offer how you can help that person.
Social media is such a great online tool and one I love as 87% of us trust recommendations from friends over 14% that trust companies who advertise directly to us. If you have not seen the power of a share, retweet or like compared to the traditional way of ranking you and your business you can read my blog on the Power of SEO for Social Media here.
Although it may initially seem like a negative situation, it is actually a huge positive. This person went out of her way to contact me, which shows how much trust she has in me as an authoritative figure. Mistake and misunderstanding happen everyday in life, I know I will never make the mistake of associating a person with an organisation unless I personally hear it from their mouth and I hope you won’t either!