Over the past few days I've been having an interesting and surprisingly informative experience. I decided last week that I wanted to revamp my website and find a professional to do so. On Friday, late in the afternoon, I put an RFP on a national website and in the interest of supporting local business people in my community, I posted an ad on craigslist. I was very specific about what I want and don't want in terms of the design, platform and add-on services. I was instantly flooded with automated emails, phone calls and even texts.
I'll skip sharing about the first call I picked up - it was a nightmare. But the second call I picked up was engaging, professional yet pleasant and friendly - I was hooked. After a fifteen minute discussion, the individual and I agreed that on Monday at 10 AM, I would get a call from one of his designers. However, shortly after I hung up, I was surprised to receive what appeared to be an automated template telling me that, "we haven't spoken yet and we'd love to schedule a call." It was a little off putting but I understand automation and don't expect perfection. But then 10:00 came around. No phone call. I then got an email confirming our 10:30 appointment. That was curious. Again, no call came. It was all disappointing as I had high expectations of moving forward and not making this into a mega-project.
I'm guessing my little story above sounds like a bad Yelp review. But trust me, my goal in sharing it is positive: As both a fundraiser and coach, I spend a lot of time on the selling side of things. I'll remind you, I have a very positive perspective on sales. To me it's the transfer of my enthusiasm for serving to someone else. Being on the customer side of this experience was a helpful reminder of what I want anyone working with me to experience and know about me.
I'll save the specifics of the above but my main point for today: If you're going to be a seller, take the time every so often be a buyer. It's a very telling experience.
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Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com