The phone rang the other day and it was someone asking me for more information about the services I can provide. That’s not really unusual. Sometimes they’ve read the screed, sometimes they’ve seen my business website, or sometimes something from a past life – an article, and interview, or another client – will send them my way. I’m thankful for those calls – some turn into business and each is an opportunity to learn about another perspective on the business world.
The call I got the other afternoon was much like many of the others. It was someone – Mary was what she said her name was – who had seen my site and wanted to know more about how I could help them. I asked about their business and they said they were selling shoes. We chatted about the differences between selling online and offline, about website optimization, content creation, and analytics. It was a pretty typical chat and it went on for 10 minutes or so. Typical, that is, until “Mary” came clean:
So we’re a marketing company too and I’m wondering if maybe we can work together because our services would fit well with the ones you offer.
My response was about what you might expect. Yes I do on occasion team up with businesses that offer services that I don’t but no, I can’t work with anyone who begins our relationship with a lie. Then, I hung up. But it got me thinking about how many businesses do just that – sometimes without malice, sometimes on purpose. We engage with potential customers under false pretenses, promising to solve their problems when our primary motivation is self-enrichment. We might think a little hyperbole is OK as we’re selling and maybe it is. But lies aren’t.
In this case, I don’t have a clue what this woman was thinking. Why would anyone want to continue the dialog after you come clean? But it’s a great example of what NOT to do. Do you think I’m being unfair?