How to Lose a Prospect in 5-Minutes!

Quite some time ago, before we had our own business – which we run from home, I signed up to the postal equivalent of the Telephone Preference Service.  A marvellous place where you can stop the seemingly never ending supply of unsolicited junk mail from falling through your letter box.

Unfortunately, once you’ve put your contact details out there for the entire world to see (we don’t want our business to be ‘the best kept secret’ do we?), the junk mail starts arriving.  So, not only is it the usual personal stuff, we’re also now treated to all the business related items, too.  Oh Joy!

Over the years I have noticed that there is obviously a place out there that designs and produces the latest ‘in vogue’ format and you can rely on – for a period of time – receiving mail from multiple sources appearing in this similar format.  The trend at the moment is a colour, A4, double-sided stiff paper affair – they arrived as tri-fold leaflets, just folded in half or left flat.

We’ve received a couple in the last week alone.  The first one of its type that caught my eye was from a locally based, regional accountancy practice.  Because if was ‘fresh’ I read it.  It was offering me an “Exclusive, Free Evening Presentation”.  Well, we all like to feel special don’t we?  Rather than the usual ‘buffet available’ with the ‘opportunity to network’ there will be “Light Supper & Drinks” and “Quality Networking”.  How very Hyacinth Bucket!  Instead of putting the leaflet on one side for filing under “B1n” I put it in the ‘action’ pile.

Coincidentally, my business partner (we are talking 'exclusive' here don’t forget, so I couldn’t just say ‘husband’, could I?!) received an e-mail via LinkedIn from a contact who is from said accountancy firm.  It was a personal invite containing similarly worded blurb with a link to the booking site.

So when I brought the leaflet to his attention, he was already aware of it and said he thought we should go.  Having been immediately smitten for all the reasons above I hadn’t actually gone on to read that the event is a “businessbootcamp” “to give your business an injection of energy and ideas”. How all very chic & exciting.  I followed the link in the e-mail and booked him (us on).

As promised the link took me to the page where I could book.  Sadly, that is where it all started to crumble around my ears.  One booking at a time.  I’m already started to bristle a bit because having completed one booking I’ve now got to go back to the beginning and book another.  I know, I’m nit-picking here, and it really didn’t take that long, but why couldn’t I book 2 places from one business on the same e-mail at the same time?  That’s just efficient, isn’t it?

More alarming perhaps was that despite the page I landed on referring to the event on the particular date – the little dialogue box that came up to confirm the booking had been received, referred to an event on “6th October” – err, that was over two weeks ago!  Moreover it advised me that I would now receive a confirmation e-mail.

It’s now 48-hours later and I’m still waiting for e-mail confirmation of one place never mind about two.

The moral of this tale is, I was completely sold on the presentation and concept of what was being offered.  However, if you’re trying to convince me that you can help my business and you are professing to be able to show me how I can improve and grow then you darn well need to get your own house in order first!