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AVM Consulting · The Metta View - Looking Forward 062 - The Divine Is In The Details

image credits @DTS
words @annvi

The divine is in the details

I’m a target. I feel pursued, and I don’t like it! 

Many companies, all completely unknown to me, have been pitching their products and services to me, mostly via email. Perplexed, I keep on wondering why they are directing their sights on me. I couldn't care less about what they are trying to make me sign up to.

You see, most of them haven’t done their due diligence. As it turns out there are a couple of other companies called AVM Consulting (I know, how dare they!), in the USA and in India. I’d say 99% of the time, although I am getting their pitch emails, I’m not their intended prey - or recipient . It’s as if they are shooting blanks. They can’t get me; I’m in the ‘wrong’ industry and the wrong business. Yet the follow up emails keep coming: Anne, please, follow up with me on blah di blah di blah...

Their attempts feel frustrating. Do you know why? I’ve done sales before. There is nothing wrong with cold calling (or cold emailing) but what’s wrong with doing research and cleaning your database? 


Doing research of course is time consuming, that’s true. But isn’t it worth reaching out to the right clients, clients who will likely want or need what your company offers? Rather than wasting time on the wrong people - who, if they are like me, will not answer anyway because they feel insulted to be the wrong target in the first place. 
There was actually a short period of time when I set my sights on several luxury multi-brand boutiques and did my own share of cold calling. That takes me back all the way to the early days when I was in charge of wholesale at Christian Louboutin. At the time, we (meaning the brand) weren’t carried by ‘THE’ department store in London, Harvey Nichols (how things ebb and flow…), neither were we to be found at Browns, Harrods, or Selfridges. 

Relying on press, friends in other brands and my own (Google) research, I handpicked boutiques in several corners of the UK, pitched them lightly to my colleagues in Paris for approval, and made the calls. 

Not long after, we landed several accounts which became successful and longterm business partners over the years.
I was led by instinct, and, curiously, a little by personal interest. Like that time I called Brown Thomas in Dublin because I thought ‘we should be in Ireland’ (read I would love to go to Ireland for work). The thought of taking a trip to visit was at the back of my mind since that first day I dialled their flagship store. By the time our partnership had turned into a huge success (given the size of the market it really was), I had even more fun than I’d expected: we toured from Dublin to Galway to Cork (via less exciting Limerick), an epic road trip with the super Sarah and Martina.

SHOW ME THE VALUE! [play on ‘show me the money, from Jerry Maguire FYI]

Recently, I’ve also been on the receiving end of a flurry of requests from individuals who are pitching themselves to appear on the Out of the Clouds podcast. At first, I was massively flattered. Oooh, how exciting. But when I read the requests, a mixture of confusion and unease flared up. Because I see a similar lack of care (or call it due diligence) which seems to be pervasive with these entrepreneurs, writers, and coaches - none of whom seem to have listened to a single episode of the show. 

When they have, their messages suggest only a cursory listen to the introduction, or perhaps a glance at the show notes. There is nothing genuine about their requests; they don’t even know which country I am in. 

“I think I could add value to your listeners.” 

“Hello Anne! We have connected on XXX and I feel honoured to continue building and fostering the relationship from one value giver to another. Please share with me how I may continue to be a resource.”

I don't know you. How can you be a resource?

And damn, I didn’t know I was a ‘value giver,’ but if I ever come across as that, please shoot me

Meanwhile, I want to say: 

Can’t you romance me a bit? Tell me what’s special about you, about me, why are we a good fit? Tell me your story!

And more than that, show me your value. 

Here’s my theory (we’re coming to it, people!): value shouldn’t need to be pointed out or explained: it needs to be perceived. 

We - humans - learn through stories. And these come in multiple forms nowadays. If you want to connect to your audience or new prospects, you don’t need to write a novel. TikTok works too. And yes, email. But approach it as you would a hot date! Be caring, suave. Don’t make us feel cheap, please. 

The value of any product or service comes from its ability to help the intended target audience perform a specific function, whether that is personal, or professional. It’s meant to relieve pain, simplify our lives, or bring some joy and excitement to our day. Not inflict pain and frustration in our day. 

Far from Seth Godin’s ‘permission marketing’, it strikes me how so many of us seek quantity over quality. The question I ask myself is: to what end? 

Because it looks more productive when you show your boss, ‘I’ve sent X amount of emails, and I’ve followed up three times’ even though there is no result beyond crowding my inbox?

Simply saying something can ‘add value’ means diddly-squat. It just doesn’t mean anything, not until we care. 

I guess what I’m saying is I wish more people cared. Cared to find the people who believe what they believe - one of my favourite things from Simon Sinek’s original talk about finding our why. 

But of course, that kind of work is harder and requires a lot of metaphorical heavy lifting. 

But if we do that, only then can we really start to add value.

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