Hello, new business prospect, my old friend. I've come to talk to you again….
These sounds of silence have become truly deafening in the aftermath of the economic meltdown. Sure, there's always been an inconsiderate prospect or two over the years. But, today, they seem legion.
Recently, for example, we pulled together a last-minute, bi-coastal pitch for an enthusiastic prospect. He'd sought us out, saying he'd heard great things about the firm. He provided lots of information in advance, made himself available for telephone briefings and was generally an all-around good guy.
On the day of the pitch, he couldn't have been nicer or more flattering. And, the vibes were good. Very good.
And then came the silence. We sent him a really nice thank you note. Nada. Then, thinking on our feet, we went the extra mile, contacted a top trade publication and discussed a possible partnership on the firm's behalf (anonymously, of course). Knowing a decision was imminent, we dashed off the partnership particulars and let the prospect know we'd be able to implement this tactic, and others, once he selected us. Again, no response whatsoever.
He waited until after hours on a recent Friday afternoon to leave a voice mail indicating they'd gone with another firm. No explanation. No thanks for the presentation or follow-up. Just silence.
I wonder if these Silent Seducers realize how precarious their positions are in today's economy. I also wonder if they realize that if, and when, the roles are ever reversed and they're seeking help on the employment front from us, their pleas will be met with the same deafening sounds of silence on our end.
As Paul Simon wrote, "Silence like a cancer grows…." And, silence begets silence in good times and bad.