Up until now, during my 25+ years as a solopreneur, the very thought of cold calls always gave me the shivers and was never a viable option for me. Let’s face it: even ordering a pizza caused my stomach to do flips.
But for the past three or four months now, I have been making these calls regularly (thanks to Ilise’s Marketing Group – she calls them “research” calls, which really does make all the difference in the world) and I’ve actually come to enjoy it. I’m finding that people aren’t nearly as ogre-like as I had thought they might be, and the fact you are sitting here reading this is a testament that no one has hunted me down…yet.
BUT…there was a call recently that really threw me. It was one I would definitely classify as “nasty.” This person was ordered by his V.P. to talk to me, and he set the tone for our upcoming conversation through course, briefly-worded emails, using all caps.
You get the idea. I was dreading our conversation, but was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just hated email.
No, he hated ME. During our meeting he interrupted me several times, and then when I wasn’t speaking he just sat there and said nothing. As soon as I started to speak again, he would interrupt. He drilled me about how I had “found” him and was very angry with his colleague who had played a role in connecting us. After the longest 5-minutes of my life, our meeting was over. I breathed a sign of relief and then immediately counted… I still had all my fingers and toes.
I knew I had to send a thank you note to him. Ugh. What to say? Thank you for being such a bully? After writing and rewriting and rewriting again, I decided a brief note, impersonal, simple, and to the point, was best. I let it sit overnight and hit “send” the next morning.
It immediately came back. “User unknown.” What? I knew I had the correct address. I tried again. “User unknown.” Okay, I’ll try replying to an email he had sent me earlier. “User unknown.” Did this mean he didn’t exist in the system anymore, or had he actually blocked my email address?
A few days later I learned he had left the company. Apparently, we had our meeting on his last day and his attitude had nothing to do with me. Yes, he took it out on me, but I could rest easy…I had done nothing wrong.
My big takeaway from all of this? To remember that I am always dealing with human beings and there is no way for me to know what the person on the other end is dealing with. I was very surprised to hear he was gone. No wonder he was upset. The last thing he wanted to do was deal with me. I can only hope I act bigger than that if I’m ever in that kind of position.
I still don’t like ordering pizza, though.
How about you? Do you have any stories to share?