Monday, October 3, 2011

Pouncing vs. Referrals

Whoah! I got pounced today! Here's an email inquiry (for someone selling advertising to me), the 'bold' text is from me. It was from a form on my website, not a personal email to me:
I want to schedule a 15 minute meeting with you in the next week or two to discuss Referral Institute of Ithaca becoming a (client). I am sure you would agree that the marketing message of Referral Institute of Ithaca is a perfect fit to the same audience as (our company), and I would welcome an opportunity to add your company to our distinguished list of (clients). In addition to (advertising), (we) offer unique sponsorship opportunities that fit well with your marketing and branding needs. (Advertising with us) is unlike any other advertising/promotional strategy in that the (receivers of our message) have an immense level of TRUST for the names they hear; and this creates a high level of respect when your organization\'s name is used. It also shows your support for (our product). As the number one (organization) in Ithaca, (we) reach (many) households in (many) counties; guaranteeing exposure for Referral Institute of Ithaca. Let me know when you might be available, would love to get together! Thanks in advance, (name) Account Executive (Company Name)
And my response:
Hello (name),

Thank you for your inquiry this morning.

Unfortunately I only take meetings with new vendors who are referred to me from people where there is an existing credible relationship. I teach my clients not to pounce on prospects – and instead get referred through an existing relationship. I’m sure you understand that the amount of time that is invested in cold calling (or cold emailing) is not as enjoyable or beneficial to either party as a warm introduction.

If you are able to be referred to me from someone in my network – I would be ok taking some time to chat.

Take care,

Possibly what I found to be troubling (or most interesting) is that we have 41 contacts in common on Linked In and 21 contacts in common on Facebook. We have never met. They didn't have time to ask someone that we both know and trust to make an introduction. I'll let you know if they are up to the referral challenge.