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Hello there. I’m an idiot.

There’s a simple rule in sales. If you want someone to take you seriously, don’t come across like an idiot.

In the heady days of the late 90s’ dotcom boom, I used to get phone calls almost every day from recruitment companies looking to place candidates. There were so many companies emerging, which created a boom for the recruitment industry.

The calls that stand out in my memory are those where the recruiter tried to build instant rapport with me with a blatant lie. One particular call went like this.

Him: “Hi, I’m calling because I’ve got a great candidate who says he’s really keen to work at your company.”

Me: “Really? Why does he want to work here?”

Him: “Well he knows what you do and he likes the way you work.”

Me: “Interesting. What is it about what we do and the way we work that he likes?”

Pause. Cut to me telling him to get a clue before calling again.

I was reminded of this exchange this week when I received a private message in my LinkedIn inbox. I won’t name the sender, but he basically said this:

I came across your profile in the SEO-Internet Marketing group and thought as the Digital Marketing Strategy Specialist at Brightpath you would be interested to hear how you can turn your company’s unknown website visitors into hot business leads.

Not being one to ignore an opportunity to point out the obvious, I replied to say that, if he had done even half a second of research, he would have realised he is trying to get me interested in the very thing I do for a living.

If you want to build rapport with people when trying to sell them something, don’t make an idiot of yourself by making it obvious you haven’t even taken the time to get to know your target.

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