At an industry do last night Lauren and I found ourselves being pitched to/on/at. Being PR people, this is a rare and slightly surreal experience, this one made all the more marvelous by its ineptness...
Propping up the bar next to us were several guys from a clippings agency.
So one of them says to the other, ‘I’ve done the room, mate and there is absolutely no one here worth talking to.’
We look after about 30 clients so I think I might have been gaping at them openly now. So they squinted at our name badges but none the wiser as it was obvious they’d never heard of us. Unfortunate, given that we used to be a client.
Having established we were a tech agency and little us, one of them launches into a full on pitch about his evaluation module, I’m not sure why as my body language was imploring him to stop. His colleague was terribly busy on his Blackberry so was unavailable to rescue us, although he did look up to offer that, ‘We get 90% of the regionals,’ Not exactly a key target for us, but then how were they to know?
All my gentle attempts to wean our pitcher off his pitch were to no avail so, so in desperation I said, ‘That is a nasty bump, how did you get that?’
The bump in question was on his forehead and his colleague had already drawn attention to it, so I figured it was a reasonable diversionary tactic to use.
‘Rugby,’ he replied. Ha! I had finally got him off the worthy subject of monitoring tools. ‘I’ve had it about two years…’
And the ground did not swallow me up, more is the pity.
This slightly mortifying experience reminded me of some total basics - be courteous to everyone, it’s a very small industry, know who you’re talking to and never pitch out of hours – it’s thoroughly tedious. If you are drawn into a new business conversation ask questions and provide agnostic answers, prove your credibility and your counterparty might even start asking you questions. Finally, just follow my mum’s advice - always leave them wanting more.
As for the clippings agency, due to my fantastic faux pas, we have enthusiastically agreed to a free trial of both the clipping and the monitoring service.