Have you ever gone to a seminar, attended a class, or taken a workshop and been so bombarded with follow-up emails that you swore you’d never attend one again, let alone agree to give out your address? Well, that’s the kind of speaker I don’t want to be which is why I decided to reach out to potential clients to see what type of follow-up they prefer.
I wanted to understand what I could do to stay on their radar, but not overwhelm them. I wanted them to remember my name and my message, to think of me if they ever needed a speaker, but I didn’t want to become someone who left them no sanity-saving option other than to click “unsubscribe.”
Initially, I wasn’t quite sure how to do this, but I ultimately decided to put together a questionnaire. The best way to get the information I was after was to ask, right? Made sense to me. But then I wondered if the recipients would even reply. After all, we’re all so busy nowadays, so why would someone agree to take the time to tell me what they thought?
That’s when I hit me that maybe it makes sense to offer a gift card or some other enticement to get them to reply. Everyone likes free stuff. Certainly, my response rate will go through the roof with such a great idea. I’m a genius! I thought. That is, until I shared this with a friend.
Instead of receiving a pat on the back for being so innovative and thinking ahead, the response I received was the complete opposite. “Why are you offering a gift card?” my friend asked before offering one piece of advice: “Just be authentic.”
I thought about that for a moment and considered whether offering a free gift was something I’d normally do. It wasn’t. So, I decided to send out my questions without offering anything in return. I simply asked whether the recipient wanted to hear from me, in what manner they’d like to hear from me, and even when and how often they’d like to hear from me. The result?
I received incredible responses! I heard from a bunch of potential clients who, without any sort of inducement, shared with me how they wanted me to contact them. I was authentic, so they responded with what they wanted or needed. I showed them that I valued their opinion, as well as their time, increasing the likelihood that when they need a speaker, I’ll be the one they call.
It can be extremely easy to go outside of who we are in order to achieve a particular result. In our quest to force a specific action, we become someone other than ourselves. While we may have pure intentions—whether it’s to further our business or somehow create a better life—taking this route doesn’t always do us well. The people we interact with may start to question who we are or just how far we’ll go to get what we want, neither of which helps in the end.
On the flip side, when we stay true to who we are, we are more genuine and more real. I know that’s the type of person I prefer to spend my time with, both personally and professionally. Wouldn’t you say the same?