Ok, we’ve been through some of this before so I will be brief but please take it seriously because some of you need to.
Good buddy Paul Greenberg has written a report that may be out already concerning the rules of the road for dealing with analysts. I have no interest in repeating his work because it’s good and you ought to get it. I can boil my issues down to two plus a factoid.
I spend 25% of my time — thirteen weeks per year, and that doesn’t count the sessions with CRM Idol — taking briefings from all kinds of companies. I don’t charge for this yet. The largest companies in the market ask for advice on positioning and messaging and some of them have been clients from time to time and I am happy to spend an hour listening to their pitches and telling them what I think.
I am also delighted when an emerging company asks for an hour to tell me about their vision and their new gizmo. Briefings are one of the best ways I know of to research and understand what’s happening at the grass roots. But you are getting lazy in the way you ask for my time.
So, I invest a great deal of my time in freebies. My only request to all of you is that you don’t waste my time. Here are DenDen’s rules for aspiring briefers.
- Never, never, never send me an email that simply asks if I have time to take a briefing. From now on the answer will be no. Why? Because on top of the hour that I give away in the briefing, I end up with ridiculous back and forth chatter with you to schedule the dam thing. Email is not a telephone, people, and you can’t send a conversation through it so stop trying. “Got time?” “Next week?” “2 PM?” “EDT or PDT?” “I’ll check with my boss.” Never, ever tell me you have to check with your boss, you should have done that before contacting me. Show up in my inbox locked and loaded, have a couple of days in mind a couple of weeks out and either 2 or 3 PM EDT because that’s all I am willing to do these days and that works out to 13 weeks per year! Better still call me. I publish my phone number on my website for a reason; and have your stuff in order. Then send me a meeting reminder including a phone number and WebEx or whatever you use that I can put into my calendar, until you do this step you do not have anything booked. If you wait till 5 minutes before the briefing to send that stuff don’t be surprised if I gave the time to someone else.
- Tell your clients to publish their land addresses and phone numbers on their websites, just like big people do. I don’t want to deal with a company that only lets me speak with sales through chat on the website. This is CRM after all and what kind of example are your clients setting if all they want to do is sell to customers and not listen to what they have to say? If your business model can’t afford customer representatives with addresses and phone numbers then maybe you don’t have a business after all. You have a hobby in which case we don’t need to talk.