How NOT To Get Me To Attend Your Conference (A Cautionary Tale) – Part 3: Lessons Learned and Key Takeaways

Quick recap: I was recently contacted (or, more accurately, badgered and harassed) by a telemarketer from GDS International ( trying to sell me on the “iStrategy2010” conference ( – essentially a conference on social media. The series of sales calls that followed were a terribly annoying experience of being harangued into spending time with the telemarketer – it felt as if they were trying to wear me down (like those time-share sales meetings) just so that, in frustration, I’d say yes and be done with it.

So, I blogged about my experiences with the GDS International telemarketer and what I did following that ridiculous sales call. Today, I’ll share with you some thoughts, lessons learned and key takeaways from the entire ordeal.

In my ordeal with GDS International and the iStrategy2010, I have learned several lessons (in no particular order):

  1. Know your audience – If you are seeking to get “higher ups”, “decision makers” or those who “control budgets”, you’ll also realise that they are very time-starved. Having a long, convoluted sales talk that ends up being a “walkthrough our website” chat is not going to endear you to your prospect!
  2. Listen to the customer!!! If they tell you repeatedly that they want the information emailed to them so that they can properly take a look at it when they are able to, DO IT! Selling me stuff the way you did because “it’s the way we do things” is irrelevant to me – I am the customer. Sell things to me the way I want it sold!
  3. Give the customer more credit. Don’t treat me like an idiot – I can bloody well navigate websites on my own and can read and evaluate value on my own terms! Wasn’t it David Ogilvy who said, “The customer is not a moron. She is your wife.” (Apologies if you do feel you actually do have a moronic spouse…)
  4. The best communication is concise. If you can’t entice me in a simple, direct email and/or PDF document, you won’t succeed by badgering me with your long-drawn sales technique. It either means that your content/proposition is weak, at best; empty, at worst.
  5. Earn credibility on your own terms. Dropping names – whether of other (potential) attendees or which “boss/higher up” referred you to me – is a pathetic and lowbrow attempt at gaining credibility. In fact, it results in the total opposite – a complete loss of credibility on your part! If your offer/opportunity is truly valuable, don’t worry – I will beat down my “boss’/higher ups” doors to pursue it.
  6. Social media makes bad customer service worse (1) – For the brand! Already, I’ve Tweeted about this. And now I’m blogging about it. I haven’t yet leveraged my LinkedIn network (which would be a prime audience for this – since the conference targets similar individuals) and Facebook network. That’s a sizeable amount of people who now view your offer with less credibility than before.
  7. Social media makes bad customer service worse (2) – Despite being a conference purporting expertise on Social Media, they have yet to react or reach out to me on the various social media networks they should be monitoring (as of this writing). Excuse me?! And you wanted to teach me about social media?!! So much for credibility.

Update: The Twitter follower I had reports a similar situation – and despite being informed that her organisation was not interested due to the price, the telemarketer continued haranguing her.

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