Friday, December 05, 2008

People are People

I received a cold call yesterday. It was from one of the larger mobile phone networks.

They told me that I had attended an event a couple of weeks ago and expressed an interest in their services, they were just following up. When I pressed for details of the event, my caller couldn't tell me.

The only time I have interacted with this company at an event wasn't a fortnight ago, but twelve months ago. I had spoken with a senior manager about how they use events like that and how they get results. He wanted to talk some more so I gave him my card. I subsequently heard nothing, even in reply to my emails, until yesterday.

How much goodwill is being destroyed by organisations who use exhibitions and networking events as list-building exercises? How many promises are made, and then broken, just to grab somebody's business card?

And how effective is it to treat everyone you meet at exhibitions, events and conferences in the same way. As fodder for a cold call?

Networking is all about building relationships and developing connections who may buy from you, who may refer you and who may recommend you. If you just want a list, you can buy them for much less than a networking membership or stand at an event.

After a recent event at which I spoke one of the delegates replied to the survey sent out by the organisers. "The event was OK", he said, "but I didn't get much from the networking".

"Where can I get a copy of the delegate list?"


  1. When there's people like that out there Andy, there's hope for the rest of us.

    Secondly, why didn't the caller just outline their product benefits and ask you for an appointment?

  2. Thanks Jem

    He wouldn't have got very far! I'm with the Telephone Preference Service to stop cold calls, so he had to establish a reason for calling me. Aside from that, he was relying on an implied permission to call.

    The problem was that the permission wasn't there and, the way many people approach card collecting at exhibitions, rarely is.