by Tom Ruwitch
Some people can’t take, “Thanks, but no thanks,” for an answer.
One of those people chased me recently.
There are some great lessons for all marketers in this story.
It started with a cold-call message on LinkedIn from a guy who was recruiting leaders for his peer advisory board business.
His message asked if I ever considered using my “experience to help others become more successful in their businesses?”
That’s a good question, I thought. Yes, my work is all about helping others become more successful.
I read further. He told me my “experience could translate incredibly well into Business and Executive Coaching.”
He asked me to complete a survey to see “what’s happening” within my company.
I’m not interested in running a peer advisory board, but I wanted to see how he used his survey to market the business and recruit prospects.
I was impressed. The survey did a great job of screening prospects.
It asked a bunch of questions about the impact COVID was having on my business over the short- and long-run. It asked me to rate “the stability of your current career or job.” It asked for my current salary range. It asked whether I ever considered owning my own business. It asked me to identify benefits I might value most if I ran my own business.
Those are all great questions to narrow the field and find ideal prospects: experienced business people who are worried about their future, dissatisfied with their current work, and seeking more fulfilling opportunities.
I completed the survey, and a few days later, I received another message from the guy:
“Based on your feedback, I think you could be a fantastic coach and I’d love to set up a time to find out a little more about you.”
Here’s the funny (and sad thing): In the survey, I said, I love my current work. I already own a business. I’m confident about the future. I have no desire to change. I don’t want to be an executive coach.
My survey responses were loud and clear: “Thanks but no thanks.”
I don’t know how to explain his “Let’s meet” follow-up.
Maybe it was sent automatically (without him actually reviewing my feedback).
Maybe he can’t read very well. Maybe he heard me say, “No thanks,” but figured he’d push anyway.
Whatever the case, he kept chasing me after I signaled I was not interested.
That annoys me. Maybe he doesn’t care about that.
But he should care about this: He’s wasting time chasing “prospects” who aren’t really prospects.
The marketing lessons:
1. Devise tactics to identify real prospects and discard the suspects.
2. Chase only the prospects. Don’t chase the suspects who say, “No thanks.”
This guy got #1 right. The survey was well-written and could have done a great job of separating prospects from suspects.
But he fumbled #2. I’m sure I’m not the only suspect he chased. The more he does that, the more time he wastes, the more people he annoys, and the less he grows his business.
Surveys are great prospecting tools. But you have to listen to the feedback and act accordingly.
Tom Ruwitch is the founder and former CEO of MarketVolt, which was recently acquired by Benchmark Email. Tom now runs StoryUp Marketing, which helps businesses tune up their stories so prospects and customers tune in. For more information, including a free story assessment, visit StoryUpMarketing.com.