21-06-2016 / blog / Dan Korving

THE COLD CALLER

Just as in real life, small things also matter in business life. Everyday, perhaps familiar, situations can lead to a vast array of feelings, which eventually can or cannot prompt you to give feedback on what caused those feelings in the first place.

Not so long ago, I received a phone call from our receptionist here at Conclusion. “Hi Dan, it’s Mister X calling from company Y. He want’s to talk to you in regard to Z.” Hmmm. Company Y did ring a bell, but Mister X and matter Z didn’t. Could this be a cold caller trying to get through the first line of defence?

 

Since I’m always interested in hearing about cool opportunities and was walking outside in lovely sunshine, I decided to be lenient about it and give this sales professional a chance to tell his story.

 

“Hi Dan, this is Mister X from company Y. I’m calling you in regard to the fact that we have done business in the past. As you know, our services involve Z, and I was wondering if we can be of any service to you in the near or distance future.”

 

Unseen to Mister X, I raised my eyebrow. Stopped walking. Tilted my head. Closed my eyes. Thought for a short moment and said: “Well, thank you very much for your phone call. I do know your company via such and such. But we never did any business. I didn’t know you offered Z. But, are you aware that Conclusion offers the same services as you do to our own customers?”

An awkward silence pursued. But Mister X managed to save the conversation by veering of to the realm of polite business small talk. We exchanged some more politeness and both went our way again. Just as our phone call ended, I could feel my iPhone vibrate. I had received a LinkedIn connection request from the same Mister X. With a message, saying: “Dear Don, nice to have spoken to you. I wish you all the best in business. With pleasure, Mister X.”

 

In all fairness, cold calling someone offering something does requires some boldness.  But, in my opinion, also some adequate preparation to avoid awkward situations like the one I just experienced. A very unpleasant feeling came over me. What just happened?

 

The swift LinkedIn request message suggested that Mister X did had some kind of cold calling strategy. And apparently, he did look me up on LinkedIn too. But to what extent was he paying any attention to the information displayed? My LinkedIn profile doesn’t only hold my (correct!) name, but also my mobile number.

 

So why call me through the Conclusion receptionist? My profile also holds my fields of business and company info. And could offer any cold caller valuable insights about our company, what it does and what we offer. So why offer services to a company that the company you're calling is offering too?

 

The devil can really be in the detail. What happened, was that the phone call with Mister X gave me the very unpleasant feeling of disinterest. I don’t know if it was displayed on purpose or not. But in my perception, me having to answer almost every question with ‘no’ and him getting almost every obvious detail and piece of information wrong, just didn’t feel right to me. In my opinion, these are the things that can ruin every potential business relation. So, what did I do with this feeling?

 

Well, I decided to give Mister X this feedback in return. And he took it very well. It’s always easy to get annoyed by something. Some things are too little to be mentioned. Others aren’t.  What isn’t always easy is giving constructive feedback in an acceptable way about these annoyances to the persons causing it.

 

Now remember, a certain feeling isn’t always a certain fact. In perception, however, a feeling can contradict with facts and be perceived as real. Even if your feeling is not particularly factual. So giving good feedback from the perspective of your own feeling and experience is key. Because, despite what the facts are, your own feeling can never be wrong.

 

Do you have any valuable insights on feedback you want to share? Or need some advice on giving feedback to your co-workers or team? I’m always happy to read your insights or questions here as a comment.