Remember the great moment in that popular 90s movie, “Jerry Maguire,” when Renée Zellweger said to Tom Cruise, “You had me at hello”? I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it must have been really good!
I noticed an email in my inbox the other day. The subject line caught my attention, so I opened it to find a “personalized” note. That’s nice. The trouble is, it starts with “Hello Lawrence.” You see, nobody who really knows me calls me Lawrence, except my mom and that was when I did something bad as a kid.
When it comes to meeting new people, we all look for signals or clues from others. They help us determine among other things, which sign to raise when someone approaches – “welcome, “do not disturb,” or “proceed with caution.”
In my case, anytime I receive mail or a phone call for “Lawrence,” the big red flag immediately goes up and the message goes to ‘file 9.’ Has this ever happened to you? It’s seems like a pretty small thing, but one that says “stranger” and causes hesitation. It can derail your efforts very quickly.
If you’re an advertising or marketing services agency out looking for prospective clients, you know that if you actually get a prospect’s attention, they will immediately size you up. They look for big picture clues as early as the lead generation stage. Things like how well does the firm know their business, do you have experience solving the problems that they face, do they know you or your firm, etc. They also notice what you may perceive to be “small” stuff (see above), things that can stop you before you get started.
Here’s a tip: Check the person’s LinkedIn profile and look at their recommendations. You can often learn what name someone goes by from people who know and endorse them. Or, if you know someone who knows them, ask them.
I know it sounds simple and perhaps insignificant, but if you’re going to go to the effort to personalize your outreach in an effort to begin to build familiarity (and trust), doesn’t it make sense to sweat some of the small stuff?
Thanks for your time and good hunting!