Three new contacts: first impressions

Three new people contacted me for the first time last week.

I set up a meeting with the first one about his book idea. He failed to show up for the meeting, then asked to reschedule. I rescheduled. He failed to show up again.

The second one asked for my opinion on a topic by email. When I asked him to tell me a little about who he was and why he was asking for my opinion, he failed to respond.

The third one was recommended by a colleague and forwarded me details about his book idea ahead of time. He showed up on time on Zoom, and we ended up spending more than an hour on the call. I couldn’t help him right now, but his idea was fascinating and I had a lot of suggestions, which he appreciated.

None of these people generated business for me.

But guess which one is more likely to be a valuable contact in the future? Which one will speak well of me? Which one understands the free advice economy?

Now guess which one is a senior executive in a large and highly visible company?

Of course, it’s the last one.

His time is probably 100 times more valuable than the other two. But he treated me as if my time was valuable.

It’s not a coincidence that his idea was better. Or that he has better manners and is more gracious. Or that I’m going to take his next call and his next email until his book ends up successful.

How do you think he ended up in a senior position in the first place?

As for me, I’ll keep taking your calls and emails . . . until you prove to me that I shouldn’t.

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  1. Last week, I placed an ad offering to donate a battery-powered pole saw, a pole hedge trimmer, a blower, and an edger to a nonprofit. A local farmer begged me to sell it to him instead. Figuring farmers deserve love, too, I offered the lot–including chargers and three batteries–for about one-fifth the new price.

    For three straight evenings, he said he’d come get them but failed to show. So I offered them to the next supplicant, a local ranch that uses horses as therapy for kids with special needs. They swung by 12 hours later and picked up the tools.

    I’ve never been so glad to lose a sale.

  2. I recently scheduled a call with someone who seemed very interested in my services, but he canceled/rescheduled 3 times within 2 weeks, mostly with very little notice. In theory, the outfit was a good match for what I do. In reality….no. Not committed.

  3. A decade ago I wrote for Huffington Post. I had scheduled an interview with Jason Bonham—son of John.

    He flaked on the first one, so I rescheduled with his rep.

    He did it again.

    When I asked his rep what happened, he said that he wasn’t surprised.

    I didn’t try a third time.