How not to be a generous company

Here’s what’s got me irked. You encourage me to download a free piece of thought leadership. It looks interesting, so I give you my information in exchange for the content. Then you call me. Within 24 hours. Hell, I haven’t even had time to read the thing I downloaded. Worse yet, you act like I owe you something. Even though you had ‘free’ plastered all over the download page.

Then you continue to call and email me. Even when I haven’t displayed any intent. It doesn’t occur to you that I might not be any where near a purchase decision yet. Maybe I’m just starting my investigation of my options.

But that thought obviously never enters your one track mind. You continue the barrage of outreach. Unwavering in your belief that you can badger me into a sale.

Get a clue.

There are a couple pieces of important insight in all of this. First, understand the customer journey. Your prospects are all going to be in different stages. Don’t treat them all like they are standing in line waiting to buy whatever you’re peddling.

Second, don’t make your prospect feel guilty. Do you really think you can get a quality sale using guilt? Okay, maybe if it’s coming up on Mother’s Day and you are a seller of roses. Guilt may work. But, honestly, how well do you think that’s going to work for business-to-business services? Want a hint? Not very well.

I will move from being your prospect to a disinterested suspect. Heck, if you keep calling when I have shown no signs of engagement, I may move to ‘sworn enemy’ status. You’ve wanted some reaction from me? Well if you keep mindlessly bugging me, I may just jump on the social channels and tell the world what a pain in the ass you and your company are to me.

If you want to play the content game, you better be generous.

Offering great help (content) is a powerful strategy. But you better be generous. And patient.

Some of us downloaders may never become your customer. But some of us will. And if you are generous and treat us well, we’ll become your advocate. And who knows. We may even become your evangelist.

But it ain’t going to happen if you keep bugging me.