Marketing your company is a concept that covers a lot of bases; from the quality of your logo right through to the way you present yourself and your brand at networking meetings. Networking, as many of you will know, can be an important part of growing your business. The connections we make, and in turn referrals within their networks, all serve to grow our reputations and recognition of our brand.
How to Alienate your Connections
I have been reminded a couple of times recently of how making assumptions about people who are in your network can backfire.
A couple of weeks ago I rang a company that Data Bubble regularly bumps into at networking meetings. I needed to out-source a bit of work, and the company in question immediately sprang to mind, as they are known to us and it is exactly what they do. However, when I rang and said in my chirpy, late Monday morning voice; ‘Hi, It’s Jo at Data Bubble’, I was fairly stunned by the response.
I was told, in what can only be described as a particularly terse manner; ‘I don’t want to buy any data and certainly not at the moment, so don’t call me about this again’. After carefully picking my chin up off our nice new office carpet, I explained that I wasn’t selling anything, I wanted a quote for some work doing. To her credit she was immediately apologetic once she had realised her mistake, and explained that she had had a particularly stressful morning.
I understand this, I also understand that we all make mistakes and most mistakes are forgivable when promptly rectified. However, this was someone who we network with regularly and even if I had been calling to enquire if we could help them with data, I would have hoped for a more respectful response.
Her assumption has cost her some business from us and dented our trust in her brand.
How to live with Egg on your Face
The second little exploit into the high-risk world of assumptions comes via a client who recently sent us a very annoyed email complaining that our data was ‘bad’ (he didn’t say ‘bad’; he said another word, and if you need a colour reference for it; it’s brown!).
However, the details he provided didn’t stack up so we investigated further via email (since our telephone calls weren’t answered). After quite a time of confusion and in-depth investigation, we started to unravel it when mention was made of the data link sent by us via email to a colleague of our client, which was to the wrong specification.
We let the client know we had never sent data to the specification he had said, and we hadn’t sent any links by email to his colleague.
After a few further emails had been exchanged (further requests to speak having been declined), we then received an email of apology – because his colleague had said it was about data, our client had wrongly assumed it was us, when actually the inferior data came from one of our competitors (I mean, really, unclean data to the wrong specification – us??!)
Quite apart from the fact that this little escapade squandered quite a lot of everyone’s time which we could have all better spent doing something useful, it illustrates how much assumptions can cost you in time and money (not to mention damaged reputation)
Marketing your Brand is a Full-Time Job
Marketing your business isn’t just about your message – it’s also about how you deal with people. It’s an important detail if you are in it for the long game.
One of Steve’s favourite sayings encapsulates this situation beautifully:
ASSUME = making an ASS out of U and ME!
Wishing you all a successful week!