I downloaded a white paper today at 2:30. Â at 3:01 I had a voice mail from the company “following up on my interest in their white paper”. Â Worse? Â At 3;45 I got another call from the same guy, same company. Â Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if this company wasn’t a technology company but they are. Â When I answered the phone as the company name didn’t come up on my caller ID, the sales guy – we’ll call him Mario – said he saw that I had downloaded a white paper and wanted to follow up. Â I informed him I had the document in my possession for one hour and hadn’t gotten a chance to open it yet. Â To his credit, he said his computer said it was last week but obviously it was wrong so at least he didn’t call me a liar, but still. Really? Â I had to hear that excuse? Â So then he went on through his script, trying to talk to me about malware. Â Except I hadn’t read it so I couldn’t tell him what I thought about things, or what in my business relates to the subject, because I HADN’T READ IT.
So now I’m not as inclined to read the paper. Â I will, because I want to see if there is something new out there I wasn’t aware of, but I’m not going into the document thinking either neutral or happy thoughts. Â I have a giant chip on my shoulder. Â And when the doc tells me all about stuff that has been in the world for months, I will think badly of the company. Â Anti-mission accomplished.
Now it just so happens I downloaded a white paper from another company on Thursday. Â That company also left me a voice mail today but that was more reasonable since it has been several days. Â And her message wasn’t an in-my-face, jump-all-over-it kind of voice mail. Â It was a very low-key, “wanted to see what your thoughts were on the white paper”. Â Her voice mail made me feel like she actually did want my opinion. Â And as the two events happened close together (I picked up the two voice mails at the same time), it was an interesting contrast.
So the morale of the story is, don’t think that because someone downloads your material they “owe” you something. Â You chose to put out free information so people who take advantage of it are following your direction. Â When you do follow up – and you should – make it clear you want to start a dialog. Â Not necessarily sell something right this second because you don’t know what product would be right for them as a client. Â In fact, for all you know they need 12 products or services – you can’t tell from a download! Â So take the time and build the relationship. Â Ask the questions and listen to the feedback. Â And for heaven’s sake give the person some time to read the document. Â Otherwise, you come across desperateÂ and annoying.