Off and on this particular topic has come up a few times on Multifamilyinsiders Discussions . Something happened today to me that inspired this post. I was sent an email from Vendor X asking me if I would trade leads with him. The message itself was nice and there was a courteous thank you on their part and an appreciative thought on receiving feedback from me. This practice I realize is nothing new and maybe it is still seen as an acceptable way of doing business. Here is where I get bold. I do not believe that emailing someone to trade leads is acceptable. Feel free to tell me I am out of line.
Follow me on this line of reasoning. First of all, I have never even heard of Vendor X. I have never met them at a trade show; they have never given me a call, nothing. My question is simply why would I even think of wanting to trade leads with you? I do not believe in leads lists nor will I ever. I have had salespeople quite often offer them to sell them to me and I simply say no thank you. My method is simple. It means getting involved in my community on every level possible and wherever the leaves fall from that method of doing business, to me it’s meant to be. So if I were simply to give in and comply with the request and trade leads, how would that make me look to my professional peers and clients and friends? In my opinion I would be a hypocrite. I don’t ever like being treated like I am a “sale” item, so why would I do that to others or allow someone else do that to people I know.
To the vendor X’s of the world, our potential client base that is out there should never be treated like baseball cards that are traded amongst children. These are people we are dealing with and the stigma of bad vendor etiquette needs to end. Please take this as professional advice and not as a slap. Vendor X this is what you should have done differently. Find out who I am. Get to know me and my company. Get involved in the groups, forums and discussions that I am involved in. Give me time to see what kind of company you are and what type of person you are. Guess what will happen. If I become aware of someone I know who legitimately could use your products and services, I will definitely call you and let you know. You could be confident of this because I do it all the time. I RT on twitter, I tag on Facebook, I highlight in my blogs and when the opportunity presents itself I mention their names when I meet with my clients. The beauty of it all, they did not even have to ask me. They practice what they preach. They do not talk about social media, engagement, and branding and then not apply it to their business practices.
It’s a whole new world for how we interact in the multifamily industry. The old methods do not work. Multifamily professionals are working hard to connect with their residents with the level they expect. No more banners, no more pitches, no more empty opening lines. Our residents do not want it. Property Management executives do not want it. We do not want it. All marketing and social trends clearly tell us that we need to change. Show chivalry. Show etiquette. Be Human.
Written by Jonathan Saar
Just for fun..listen to one of Bon Jovi’s old tunes and fill in the word “love” with “vendors”. That’s how I roll.