It’s part of the game, we all understand. As long as “buyers” exist, there will always be “sellers.” Now, in an age of increasing transparency, there are multiple ways for the two to connect – some ways much better than others. So, realizing this is part of the way business is conducted, I attempt to be courteous to the vendors that consistently knock at the Dental One door.
Still, some ways will be more readily accepted than others. Here are four ways you can almost guarantee a “no go” when seeking a new client relationship:
Sell me immediately after “Linking” with me:
I’m not the first to mention this, obviously, but there are effective ways to use LinkedIn to market your business – and there are ineffective ways to limit your business. I respect transparency – that’s what InMail is for, your transparent pitch to be considered as a business resource. Add a personal note, give me some indication it’s not a template, chances are I’ll accept your request and at least respond with a “thanks but not now.”
But, send me a regular request with no context or personal note and you’re probably getting the big “ignore this person” (unless you’re an Aggie.) It doesn’t take much to see your title and company, so a random request from someone selling RPO solutions is an easy one to eliminate. We know what’s coming next, really.
Send the same “personal” email to my boss, my staff, other execs:
You got my email address, you got my title, you might have even done some cursory research, so you craft a finely tuned introductory email and send it my way. Then you send it to my boss. And then you send to it to my direct reports. And finally, anyone with a Sr. title or “Human Resources” in their respective title gets the same note.
I do get your note…as a matter of fact I get it 5 or 6 times. When you carpet bomb the executive team with solicitation emails, they forward it to me. That’s a lot of deleting, and it brings the wrong kind of name recognition to your personal brand. Stop it already.
Not be able to answer the question, “What do you know about us?”
You know why people still cold call? Because it still works. A little luck, a little good timing, and you find yourself actually engaged in a conversation with the decision-maker. This is it – you have your elevator pitch, you may even get into some friendly conversation, and then I ask you “so what can you tell me about what we do?” I’ve received the following answers to that question, hand to God:
–“I was hoping you could educate me on that.”
–“I think it’s something to do with dentists?”
–“There’s a lot of healthcare involved.”
None of these, btw, were the correct answer. Get ready for an old man “in my day” statement, but seriously folks – anyone 40+ now would have killed for Google when we were pounding the pavement 20 years ago. To not have a cursory knowledge of your target is just lazy selling.
One of the surest ways to damage your relationship with me or my team is to try the end-around.Contacting the hiring managers directly may get you a placement, otherwise we wouldn’t continually have to deal with this. And, truthfully, the fault does not really rest solely with the vendor – there are hiring managers who encourage this behavior & actively circumvent established processes.
Careful, though. The managers who ignore the process won’t outlast me and my team – you might hit a monthly quota, but you lose the ongoing revenue source.
John Whitaker (“Whit”) is a SVP and Chief People Officer at Sage Dental and the founder of HRHardball.com (2008). He specializes in building and developing strong recruiting teams who are unafraid of “kicking the ant pile.” Like most Texans, he loves to tell a story (especially those that include an armadillo or a poker game) and cutting through the chaff…don’t take it personal.