I’m not a particularly rant-y person at this point in my life. I used to be (just ask anyone in my family!), but nowadays I prefer to spend my energy in a more positive, useful fashion. I’ve got plenty going on in running my own race to spend time worrying about what you’ve got going in the other lane.
There’s no denying though that sometimes a good rant is in order and much needed; especially when it’s something you feel compelled to take a stand on.
So, I guess you know what’s coming next? 😉
In the past 2 weeks, I’ve had no less than 3 requests to participate in telesummits. I’m always open to opportunities to talk about branding, so if it’s a good fit (meaning it’s in alignment with my Core Values) and I have availability, I’m happy to say yes.
But here’s where I am greatly disturbed and troubled when I have these conversations.
In 2 out of the 3 instances recently, I was asked this question:
“What’s your list size?”
OK, so let me see if I’m understanding the situation; you have approached me to be a guest on your telesummit (which as we all know is a much touted “list building” marketing strategy), so I’m going to assume that your business coach has suggested this as a way to build your list. I’m going to further assume that you have done your homework about me and you know that I’ve been around the internet block since 2007. In internet dog years I’m practically a dinosaur. I’m going to take my assumptions one step further and assume you believe I have some expertise around a particular topic; which I do.
And yes, I’m very well aware of the saying of what happens when you assume. And I could be completely wrong and you could be trying to build something that provides enormous value…that is certainly a possibility too.
And yet…you are asking me about the size of my list. This is incredibly rude and disrespectful.
To me that’s like inviting me to dinner and then saying, “Oh and by the way, would you mind bringing all of the food for the dinner?”
You are measuring my value based on one part of my total community and reach (which I don’t have to prove to you by telling you how many people have graciously allowed me to pop in their inbox periodically because they believe I have something of value to offer them).
We need to stop feeding this prehistoric marketing strategy (and if you are a business coach teaching your clients this strategy, shame on you).
So what can you say when someone asks you this personal business question?
Blunt and to the point:
“It’s none of your business”
Counter with a question of your own:
“In relationship to what?”
“Does size really matter to you?”
“Do you want my list or my expertise?”
“Shouldn’t you buy me a drink before asking me a question like that?”
A snappy comeback:
“Big, and I’m not afraid to use it”
“Big enough to do some serious damage”
“I’ll answer that if you tell me how big yours is, and I don’t mean your list”
(those last 2 come from the lovely Nicole Dean, a friend I’ve known since digital dinosaurs roamed the earth)
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re only interested in my list”
“Listicles are for listing things, not people”
“Oh gosh, I never talk about list size on the first date”
Or a simple:
“I don’t think I’m a good fit for this, but I wish you much success”
Also, please do not tell me how many times I must tweet, post, share with my list, etc. about your telesummit. Rest assured that if I’m participating I believe it has great value and I will share it with all of my community on my timetable not yours. I like that you have made it easy for me for possible language to use in order to share your event; I appreciate that (even though I guarantee I won’t use it since it’s not in my brand voice), but don’t tell me how many times I must share it. I’m an adult who runs a business, please treat me that way.
Oh and while I’m on a roll here…
it’s not a list to me…it’s a community
they are not my target market…they are people that I am building relationships with
They are never, ever numbers on a list to me and so clearly you have not done your homework when you thought I might be a good fit for your telesummit. I’m totally not, and I’m very much ok with that.