Sometimes one just has to blog, particularly when something just phases or amazes you enough to put fingers to keys. I’ve just telephoned one of my former clients, to be told by reception that “he doesn’t take calls”. Now, I’ll call his mobile and reach him there, so no drama. So here’s the rub.
Reception didn’t even know who I was. They didn’t even bother to ask, and just offered to give me my client’s email address. I could have been anyone, from the hard-nosed pushy salesperson to the boss of one of the divisions who just happened not to have this guy’s internal or direct number. OK, so most people we’d like to speak to already have our contact details, but not always. You could be turning away someone important, or making it difficult for them to get hold of you.
So why my horror, disgust and shock? It’s because this person was the HR Director, running a (supposedly) people-centric function, that’s also gaining a worrying reputation for being difficult to engage and offering limited #value. Now HR Directors can’t take many and all of the calls. But if they (and, by association, their function) want to be seen as approachable, they should at least find out what someone wants before they shut them down or close them off. Wait before they build a protective wall, or dig a moat around them. And don’t give reception the message that they don’t take any calls. It makes them seem aloof and arrogant. Maybe they are, but they sure as hell don’t want that reputation to stick. Rant finished. I’m over it now!
Good afternoon. Great afternoon actually. I’m about to go for a walk in the Henley hills, and make the most of the glorious weather – I swear we have a micro-climate here. It always seems to be sunny by the river.
But like a dam, something interrupted my flow. I’ve just received a LinkedIn invitation. No surprise there, as I have fast-approaching a thousand connections. But this invitation is from someone I haven’t yet met. Now, hang on a minute! We’re scheduled to meet but, until we do, how would I know you’re going to be valuable (and me to you)? Shouldn’t we establish that first, before we become bosom business buddies?
This might be my shortest-ever blog, because I just have one piece of crisp and clear advice. Don’t assume you’re going to be of #value to someone. Focus on proving you add #value to them. And only then should you try to move your business relationship to the next level. Sometimes the “too fast, too soon” thing turns into a great relationship. But more often it fizzles out before it really gets going, or ends in a messy divorce.
Now there’s a cheery thought for a sunny day. Maybe I do need that walk…