The phone rang. I sighed. The timing was awful. It was 2001, and I was concocting yet another fusion cooking classic. If I recall correctly it was an Italian/Indian combination – essentially a chicken curry with pasta. I thought about letting it ring but with no caller ID available I thought I’d better answer. I regretted the decision immediately.
“Hi Mr. Anderson. It’s Colin from ABC Home Improvements – don’t worry, I’m not selling anything.”
My heart sank. Now I don’t know about you, but experience has taught me that when someone proclaims that ‘they’re not selling’ you can be fairly confident that they are. I stretched the cord of the phone just enough to see into the kitchen to check that my masterpiece was still OK. It was.
“Now Mr. Anderson you’ve qualified for an exclusive discount.” Said Colin.
“Listen Colin – I’m in the middle of creating a genuine culinary masterpiece…..”
I could hear keys being pressed as Colin frantically tried to find the right place in his pre-prepared sales script.
“All we need to do Mr. Anderson is to get one of our design specialists out to provide a free, no obligation quote for your conservatory”
A minor crisis was developing – the pasta was boiling over, so I confess that I wasn’t paying the fullest of attention. Then it struck me. Did he say conservatory?
Colin must have been a mind reader.
“Did you know that a conservatory can add more value than it actually costs?”
“So how does it work?” I asked, gifting him a clear buying signal.
I could almost feel the mini-fist-pump over the phone. He had me where he wanted me.
“One of our designers will come out and ….”
“No Colin – how does it physically work. I’m fascinated.”
I could hear mouse buttons being pressed, sheets of paper being thumbed through as Colin desperately tried to find the answer to my question.
“Ermm sorry Mr. Anderson what do you mean.”
“Are stilts used?”
“What?” Asked Colin
“Colin – I stay in a second floor flat.”
There was silence. Utter silence. No mouse clicks. No paper being thumbed through. Then to Colin’s enormous credit he fired back with this-
“How do you feel about replacement doors or windows?”
I ended the call, politely, with a new found respect for Colin and returned to creating food based art.
That was the last cold call I enjoyed and in a history of hundreds of such calls, this is THE ONLY ONE that I remember. Of course though, I do so for all the wrong reasons.
Cold calling and most traditional outbound marketing doesn’t work as it once did. Our tolerance for unwelcome interruptions is at an all time low. If I want a conservatory – I’ll search for one online. I’ll ask Facebook friends for recommendations. I’ll do my own homework and make my own decision in my own time.
As a business owner, a big pat of your job today is to be found AND make sure that when you are discovered, that you deliver valuable content. Content that helps. Content that educates. Content that entertains. Content that connects. Content that matters.
Too many businesses are following the wrong recipe. Wasting two ingredients they don’t have enough of – time & money. The blend of their marketing is all wrong.
I’ve made the decision to grow my business through content marketing, and I encourage others to do the same. It’s not a quick fix, marketing ready-meal, it’s a long term commitment. But there’s enough evidence out there to show that it works.
In my 21 years of working in marketing communications I’ve experienced first hand the battle between old World and new World marketing. The reality is this – the old ways aren’t coming back, you need to embrace content marketing. Is Content Marketing the only answer? Absolutely not. But it is, without a doubt, a big part of the answer.
Not sure where to start on your content marketing journey?
Here are two great Content Marketing sites that can help. One from Scotland, the other from the US.
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