After walking into three businesses to get a job in one day, I started wondering what would it take to get the CEO to talk to a stranger like myself who shows up unannounced. I’m sure she wouldn’t come out if I tried to sell something, offer a deal or look for a job. Then, what about I come in and ask something completely outrageous, fun and harmless? Would that do the trick then? Thanks to the idea from the Cullen family from Michigan, I went into Bloomfire, an online collaboration software company in Austin and challenged the CEO for a staring contest.
The CEO still wouldn’t come out. However, the VP of Marketing, Heidi did. She was sports enough to accept my challenge and subsequently beat me. Although I didn’t get what I ultimately requested, Bloomfire made me happy by providing an alternative which probably was the better results anyway, since Heidi was very fun to talk to. Had Heidi not come out or accepted my request on behalf of the CEO, I would have left feeling a little disappointed, although I was looking to get rejected. It wasn’t fair/unfair, just human nature.
Learning: In the day when I was trying to exchange training with a trainer, I explained how to give a perfect rejection. I want to add one more – if there is no way to get a ‘yes’ to the original request, provide an alternative. For example, when you are in customer support, give a $10 credit to the angry customer. Remember, retaining an existing customer is 8 times cheaper than acquiring a new one. Over a period of time, $10 is a very small price to pay. Moreover, making an existing customer happy and appreciative is the central part of word of mouth marketing.