When I was a kid, one of my household chores was to vacuum.
We had what I thought was an 80-lb vacuum, which I would lug around the house every other week.
Sure enough, when I was done, my dad would inspect my work and tell me whether he signed off or not.
Usually, I had packed away the vacuum already and was one foot out the door to play my friends when he comes back and tells me I missed a spot.
Not one spot, but a lot of spots.
Sure enough, I had to ramble back in, haul out the vacuum and redo the entire set of stairs that I so hastily did the first time.
Every time this happened, the chore took a long longer and was a lot more arduous than it could have been.
This taught me a lesson. I hold a belief now which I attribute to these moments which is that if you’re going to do a job, do it right the first time.
The car dealership
I recently purchased a car, and we visited all of 3 locations. We knew we wanted a Toyota because we heard they run forever.
The first place I went to was an independent dealership that mostly sold Toyotas.
We looked around and they had nothing within our budget and interests.
The salesman asked me if I’d like to leave my contact info in case anything comes up within my range.
Not more than a few days later, I get a call from an overseas call centre telling me I’ve been approved for auto financing.
I asked how they got my contact information and the person told me that I must have given my information at some car dealership.
I had written it on the back of a business card with an invitation to contact me should a vehicle fitting my needs become available.
I had not given them permission to resell my contact information to car financiers.
And even though I’ve asked to be removed from their list, I still get calls, and just yesterday, a text message.
So what happened here?
1. Breach of Trust
This dealership broke the cardinal rule of business, which is to earn and keep trust.
The car salesman seemed fairly genuine. I had enough trust to leave him with my information. And now I’d never go back.
In fact, I’m not one to leave reviews on Google, but I have a good mind to start.
He broke my trust to make a quick buck. He sold my personal information to a company who keeps calling me, despite being asked to be removed from their contact list.
2. Lack of Permission
The second major issue here is a lack of permission. When contacting individuals, whether by phone, email or otherwise, without their permission, you aren’t doing marketing. You’re trying to take a shortcut. It’s spam, and it builds a bad reputation. It can also be illegal according to the CAN-SPAM Act (US) and CASL (Canada).
To make one thing clear, sales calls are fair game. If your company is listed in the phone book or has their telephone number online – you’re fair game according to the law and business expectations.
But spamming people without their permission is a shortcut. It may make you a quick buck today, but it doesn’t build a business.
There are no shortcuts in business (or in life).