How Not to Market your Marketing Company

At Lowenthal & Abrams our receptionist takes all phone calls. This means that she can protect everyone from sales calls. And there are a lot of sales calls. However, since I handle aspects of the firm’s marketing, I am often willing to take calls from marketing companies because I feel I can always learn something, and I might be interested in researching and considering whatever the person is selling.  Jeff is thrilled that he doesn’t have to directly take the calls any more, and he knows that if I feel something is in line with the firm’s vision for the future I will discuss it with him.  Frankly, even if I am not sure if something is in line with the firm’s vision, I will discuss it with him if I find it interesting. We are both open to new ideas. I normally tell him about all of the calls I take anyway, unless they are utterly absurd.  Jeff and I enjoy talking, and I like to tell him what I have learned in this constantly changing world.

I tell you this because I want you to understand the background for an unbelievably outrageous phone call I got yesterday.  I want to share it my experience with you for two reasons.

1. I wanted to offer my experience as a constructive lesson to people making sales calls. In other words, don’t handle calls as in the story I am about to convey.
2. It was so unbelievably offensive, that I just have to share it with you as a way of expressing my feelings. Hey, it’s my soapbox.

I Want to Talk to the Boss

Around 4:30 or so yesterday, our Receptionist buzzed me to ask if I wanted to take a marketing company call. I said sure.  The call turned out to be from a man named Greg at a company named Legal MindSet Media.  Greg told me he wanted to talk to Jeff. I explained that I manage online marketing and would talk with him first. Then we could go from there.  A perfectly reasonable way to handle sales calls. You don’t get to the boss of the company with your first call. Someone is going to screen you. That is how these things work.

I am not Important – This is Not a Marketing Company

Greg told me that his company isn’t a marketing company, he went on about this for quite a while. He also told me he wouldn’t talk to me because I was not the person who could make the decision to spend the money and they had wasted a lot of time on marketing people, which cost them money. He said if I could make decisions about spending money he would be happy to speak with me (clearly implying that I was not someone with any power in this regard, so I am worthless to him.) Greg said they could help improve our presence and bring us more clients and that is why he needed to speak to Jeff.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the same things all marketing companies say.

Greg then went on to tell me that I couldn’t possibly know the vision for the firm, where it wanted to be in 2 years or 5 years and so on. Only the Senior partner could know these things and that is why he needed to talk to Jeff and not to me. I actually just started to laugh at him as he said more and more condescending things about how unimportant I was and how much of a waste of his time it would be to speak with me. So I should let him talk to Jeff.  I don’t know why I didn’t just transfer the call right then and there. Do you?

While we spoke, or rather while he spoke and I chuckled and listened to him with increasing incredulity, I looked at his company’s website. I am not going to link to it here because I don’t care to reward Greg’s behavior with a link from my website. But when I looked up the company I learned that they do, “Branding.” Here is a quote from their website. “Legal Mindset Media is a marketing and advertising company in the legal market space dedicated to enhancing the client acquisition success of law firms.” Remember, according to Greg, they aren’t a marketing company. Oh. Ok.

Anyway, I told Greg I would be happy to email Jeff, and if Jeff wanted to call him, he would do so.  Greg thanked me, and we hung up. I then proceeded to send Jeff this email with the subject line “Greg”:

“This fellow called, he wants to discuss Legal MindSet Media with you and see if you are interested. He made it very clear I am not important enough to talk to ;)”  I included the link to the company in place of its name. Jeff’s response?  “Not Interested.”

Of course Jeff responded this way. In what world is he going to be interested in someone who was so rude to me? Jeff wants me to filter through all of the noise and make recommendations. That is one of the reasons I am here. If the person making the sales call was so inept, how will that company treat potential clients? What will it be like to work with? Why would we risk working with them when there are so many other companies that treat everyone with respect?

I am going to guess that Greg didn’t bother to actually do much research on our  firm. If he had, when he heard my name he probably would have taken me a little bit more seriously, or at least been polite. I am, after all, on the website as an attorney of the firm, so someone who probably has at least a modicum of authority. But even if I wasn’t, speaking to anyone the way Greg spoke to me is highly inappropriate. I don’t care if you are talking to a receptionist, a secretary, the head of marketing, a lawyer, or  the senior partner. Treat people with respect. Period. You would think Greg might have gotten the hint when I started to laugh every time he said something outrageous to me.Who knows what he thought when I was chuckling away.

Any good marketing company would know better. So maybe Greg was right. Maybe Legal Mindset Media isn’t a marketing company.

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