There are two things I cannot abide: liars and thieves.
This is a story about a liar.
Last night, I got an email from an internet marketing company who knows nothing about marketing and nothing about me. How do I know? I simply read his marketing email to me.
It started like this:
I’ve been following your blog for some time now and I just had an idea that I think you’re going to like.
[Uh oh. Reminds me of guys who would come up to me in a bar in college and say, “Hey, I bet you’d love to dance with me.” I’ve never heard of this guy before and already he has an offer I can’t refuse.]
We help companies double their sales using Internet marketing tactics such as Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing and Pay per Click.
[Whoa, Nellie! Isn’t this the same work Aly and I do for our clients? But he said he’d been reading my blog “for some time now,” so why doesn’t he know this about me? After all, there’s a category on my blog called Internet Marketing. ]
I’d love to work with your clients to help them grow their businesses.
Obviously, you wouldn’t recommend someone you don’t know, so I’d like to analyze your website and Internet marketing strategy, and put together an Online Marketing Plan for you.
Okay, now I’m laughing so hard, I’m sliding off my chair. Had he read my website, he would have known:
- I teach classes and give speeches on Internet Marketing Strategy and SEO.
- 90% of my marketing is done via the internet.
- I have the #1 ranking on Google for “small business coaching,” “small business consulting services,” and “mastermind group” in the USA. I don’t really need SEO help, thanks very much.
Oops, wait, better double-check Google Webmaster Tools to see if these rankings are still accurate…maybe this guy is on to something!
(Oh, look at that…I even rank higher than Amazon.com for “books on entrepreneurship.”)
Then I stop laughing. And a weird angry-calm comes over me. This guy is a liar and I hate that. He doesn’t care diddly-squat about me and my business, he just wants someone to help him make sales for his company.
Good Marketing is About Building Relationships First
The first mistake he made was not really getting to know me before he tried to sell me something. One of the internet marketing gurus says it’s akin to meeting someone new and saying, “Wanna get married?” in the first five minutes of conversation.
Rule #1: Create rapport with your customer. Get to know them. Strike up a conversation in their blog comments, in Twitter or Facebook, in online message forums, or via email. Meet them at events. Go out and give speeches or classes, then chat with the participants afterwards. Let them know you exist and you’ve got some great resources to share.
Find Common Ground
Rule #2: See if your prospective customer has a problem you can help solve or a dream you can help fulfill. Don’t assume they have a problem or dream: ask them.
No Speed Dating Allowed
Rule #3: Stop trying to make the sale in the first conversation. Relax and enjoy the unfolding of a new relationship. Don’t look desperate and don’t hurry them along just to get your needs met. Always, always, always look for a win-win.
Did I tell you the story about when I ran into a thief on the Internet?
Oh, so what did I do with the email? I let my assistant handle it. She’s so much more diplomatic than I am!