Not the most timely title for a post, but hopefully it will make sense as we get into this.
Let’s do a quick exercise where we forget we’re in the business of constantly trying to attract new business and/or donors, and focus instead on our roles purely as consumers. In this role we’re inundated with specials, promotions, opportunities and one-time offers. These once-in-a-lifetime chances come at us so frequently that they’re really not all that special any more.
The volume (both in terms of the amount and the noise-level) of these tactics make us at worst, completely apathetic and at best, pretty dubious of where the truth really lies.
So when we put our Small Business Owner/Fundraiser/Marketer hats back on, we have to assume that the folks we’re targeting aren’t going to implicitly trust us. And with good reason.
And if our prospective customers have their hands over their eyes and ears defending themselves against our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, even if it is 100% authentic, we have to accept that there is a high probability that they are not likely to engage.
So instead of writing on the virtues of building customer trust through a long-term, gentle outreach program, I’d rather be more pragmatic and suggest a simpler tactic. If a prospect doesn’t want to listen, move on to someone who will. If that seems overly callous, switch back into the role of the consumer again. How often have you thought – “I really wish they would just leave me alone”?
Listen, there is value in being persistent. If the “constant barrage” tactic wasn’t effective, it wouldn’t exist. But at some point, it becomes irresponsible to continue to hammer away expecting a different result. Your time will always be better spent seeking engagement with fewer, quality prospects rather than just grasping for raw numbers.
If your engagement methodology respects the consumers’ desire to not participate, and you are able to “let it go”, you might be positioning yourself to reengage with them somewhere down the line. If you can demonstrate that you understand their position, they will be more likely, at some point, to want to learn more about yours.