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Where Marketers Go to Grow

December 6, 2007 // 11:47 AM

Don't Bribe Me - Engage Me in a Valuable Conversation

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I am always disappointed when companies take the easy way out.

Recently I downloaded some white papers about public relations from a company called Vocus.  A couple days later I got a package at my office.  it was a coffee mug with some cookies arranged in it to look like a flower arrangement.  I also got a voice mail from a salesperson telling me about the cookies and asking me to call back if I wanted a demo.  It wasn't totally clear to me what the demo would show me, or what the product really does, or how it would help my startup business.  I left the cookies out in the office to share with the team.  I did not call the salesperson back.

What kind of follow-up are you doing with your leads?  Do you send cheesy bribes that get people to talk to you for the wrong reason?  Or do you continue to engage in a conversation that provides useful information? 

At HubSpot, we ran a webinar this week about blogging.  Of course, our sales people are following up on the leads from the webinar.  But we're not sending cookies.  And their first question isn't "Do you want to see a demo?"  Our salespeople call up and ask "Did you enjoy the webinar? What can we do to make the next one more useful? Did you get a link to the recording and slides?  Are you thinking about blogging?  How is it going? Is your blog driving a lot of traffic and leads?  Do you know there are a few steps you can take to optimize your blog to get more search engine traffic?"

Through the course of a conversation like this, you actually make the prospect feel valued (in fact they are - the feedback on the webinars does affect the future webinars) and we offer value to them since we are very careful to make sure all our salespeople are well versed in Internet marketing and can offer useful free advice.  I would much rather have talked to a salesperson who had advice for me on how to make my press releases more effective than one who wanted to cram a demo down my throat right after some cookies.

How do you follow-up with leads?  Do you send cookies?  Or engage them in a valuable conversation?

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