“Tell Me Again What It Is You Do?”

I was at a trade show a few weeks back, doing some work for a client…

Met a really cool guy who does marketing work for another company in that space. We had a nice chat, hosted him on our remote broadcast radio show, and we promised to talk again.

The goal of that next conversation was to explore some ways we might be of service to him and his company down the road…

So, following the show, I sent an email to this gentleman to follow-up and schedule a phone conversation.

I heard nothing back.

Next, I left a voicemail to reach out to him.

Nothing.

Sent another follow-up email late yesterday to this fellow, wishing him a warm holiday, and hoping we could schedule a phone conversation the week following Thanksgiving.

I heard back.

“Tell me again what it is you do?”

Sigh…

But you know what? That’s life. That’s life in 2010. There is a lot going on out there. A lot of noise. A lot of distractions. In this guy’s world, I am just someone else trying to interrupt his day.

And that’s the point of this message. Just because you have a promising interaction with someone, doesn’t mean they are going to go home and dream about the opportunity to do business with you.

You have to earn that right. And you have to make your interaction with that person memorable. And that’s the lesson I continue to learn day in and day out.

Three things are going to happen now:

1. He will block me and ignore me forever.
2. He will call me first thing this morning and we’ll begin exploring.
3. Or, he and I will work over a period of time to establish a relationship, where each of us will slowly learn about the other…

And it doesn’t happen overnight, and you have to put your “new” relationships into the incubator to foster and grow. This is why it so important to have activity on the social web, where this gentleman can learn about me, interact with me, question me, and advance the relationship.

All the while, I am doing the same thing. Learning about him, learning what’s important to him. And discovering ways (if any) that I can be of service.

Ultimately, hopefully, there will be trust, confidence and enough faith that I might be of some use to this company, and this fellow will formally reach out to seek counsel.

Just don’t assume that you are top of mind from day one. Trust me, most good guys in good companies have dozens and dozens of things more important on their mind than the guy they met in Orlando a few weeks back.

Shift your paradigm – shift your thinking – learn to foster these relationships over time – and then and only then they will lead to something meaningful…

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[cartoon by @gapingvoid]

  • Bob De Jonge

    Nice post, Todd. I, as an engineer in a recently new position more marketing/sales centric, identify with both ends of that story.
    I am much better suited to engineering, but then again, I’ve spent more time doing that type of work.
    Lots to learn… Very tough…

  • Todd Schnick

    bob! greetings my friend. hope this finds you well. and yeah, sales is, in fact, a continual learning process. excited to learn more about your new position!

  • Bob De Jonge

    All’s well, Todd. Thanks. Would love to fill you in and pick your brain. Looking forward to getting together at some point, and sharing fond old Bill Laimbeer memories ;)
    Missed you on my swing through ATL area – saw you were off somewhere trying to wear out those size 22′s running around or some darn thing.
    Have a great Thanksgiving.
    But wait – I see you’re off running around again tomorrow??!!
    Awesome.
    run strong, buddy!

  • Todd Schnick

    i missed you? are you kidding me?

    well, shoot, let’s schedule time to talk following the holiday…