As the pace of the world seems to always be increasing, it’s tempting to try to find shortcuts to reach your intended audience, but those shortcuts are likely to backfire.
As Seth Godin as said, “The people you most want to engage with don’t want to be hustled.“
You can earn attention through giving of your time and insight, or you can steal attention by trying to hustle your future clients. What does “hustling” look like these days?
Unwanted Text Messages
There are cases where text messages from businesses can be good, but most of the time they’re an annoyance. In other cases, particularly with politicians, they’re completely unrequested and unwanted, and only serve to irritate the recipient.
Has a cold text message, either from a company or politician, made you trust them more?
The mailbox as a billboard
Sending out junk mail is one thing; it’s often annoying, but legal. For those that want to save the postage fees, though, they just stick stuff on the outside of your mailbox (which is most certainly not legal).
Even worse, it seems many tend to “un-stick” themselves from mailboxes and just clutter the street. Here are some I cleaned up recently while on a walk down our road.
That leaves me with zero desire to work with a company like that. There are so many great, effective ways to market your business, and that’s not one of them.
While the above examples are often illegal (which is an awful way to try to begin a relationship with a customer), others take a more legal yet more slimy approach to things and I’ve seen it three times with Northwestern Mutual.
A few years ago, a friend of mine said that I should meet for lunch with Tom, as we have a lot in common. Great! I do that quite often, I enjoy the new relationship, and ideally we refer some business to one another in the following years.
Tom wasn’t that.
Tom came prepared with my LinkedIn profile printed out, and a list of questions about my dreams, investment portfolio, real estate owned, etc. He didn’t even try to hide behind a “getting to know you”, it was 100% a sales pitch.
At the end, he showed me five contacts from my LinkedIn profile that he’d love an introduction to. That’s how he found me, it seems. I declined to set him up with more people for that ambush.
About a year later, a former pastor from our church reached to grab coffee. How fun! I’d love to catch up. In looking at his profile, though, I saw that he was with Northwestern so I asked him point blank what the coffee was really for. He admitted the truth, and we canceled the appointment.
It happened again a year later with another Northwestern person.
Don’t steal what’s not yours
A person’s attention is theirs to give away. In some cases, you have a legit opportunity to jump in front of them via a TV or Facebook ad, and both parties know that’s the cost of the medium. Those ads can be annoying, but they’re an accepted fact of life.
If that doesn’t work, though, don’t stoop too low. Don’t buy lists to text, stick stuff on mailboxes, or make faux lunch requests into a full-on sales pitch.
Don’t try to steal attention — earn it.