Who would think you could sell a car to a blind man?

I was speaking recently at a conference and as I stepped down from the podium…a well-dressed man was waiting to tell me he recognized me from Twitter. “I have a question for you”…why do you follow so many people on Twitter?”

Apparently he hadn’t read my Twitter Watchdog post about My Twitter Philosophy

He went on to tell me he only follows a few very select people who he “is nurturing” because he wants them as clients. Well, I thought…focus is good, and then I remembered…

Many years ago I was doing the marketing for Ford Motor Co. I was feeling pretty great about how well we were doing, getting prospects to go to their local dealerships and test drive new cars. But, as soon as I get “puffed up”, something always happens to set me right again. This time it was an irate dealer-owner in Quebec.

He called the agency and screamed at me that my foolish mailing had brought in a blind man who requested a test drive of a new car, a big Explorer. His salesman wasted an hour driving the guy around…and it was all my fault, because my list selection was stupid. Then he called the Chairman of our agency to tell him to kick me to the curb.

I apologized profusely. Not sure how a blind man even read my direct mail letter…and then went back to work, humbled.

Next morning at 11:00 AM I get a call from that same dealer. This time his voice was filled with gratitude. The blind guy had brought his brother in that morning and just signed the papers to buy a fully loaded Explorer. Imagine!

So if one blind man can buy a big old car…who might be the person who buys your service, your product…your next great idea?

I think (for what it’s worth):

1. Follow people back, if they’re real people. I followed @aviationartlife because she had a weird logo. Turns out, she’s Cecilia Karr and her husband is an Aviation Artist. I own an agency..never know when I might need him. Meanwhile, we’re friends.

2. @Ms_effective tweeted me about contributing a section of her new book. I gave her some of my secrets of feeling great before presentations and she wrote about them in her new book, 101 Quick Tips Effective Communications by Debbie Mayo-Smith. She’s in New Zealand and month she sent me a half dozen copies of the new book…with my secrets in it. Love that!

3. Then there’s @kansasauthor who writes directly to me often. He didn’t like the fact, I kept calling him Kansas, so I looked up his name, Tom Mach. Found out he wrote a great book entitled, Sissy. I ordered it last night from Barnes and Noble.

So, I’ve made dozens of new friends. Maybe I’m not as focused as the guy with the Armani suit..but Twitter is definitely making me happier.

Lois Geller Follow me on Twitter

2 Responses to “Who would think you could sell a car to a blind man?”

  • avatar Cecilia says:

    First of all – I’m honored to have been pulled out of the Crowd! (LOL)
    We met as a result of Al putting out a call for professional procrastinators (on Twitter), and we both responded a few seconds apart. Real Persons – you bet!
    I so agree with you, Lois, that you just never know who knows who, who was looking for just your particular service or product – an experience we’ve had repeated several times. This is usually a two-way street, too, with both parties ending up benefiting from the relationship, in one form or another.
    Your recount of the Ford dealer and the blind man should remind us all that you should not ignore small wounds or destitute friends (Mom used to quote that a lot – she was a nurse…).
    My “follow policy” pretty much coincides with yours, though obviously on a smaller scale. I have dropped some automated tweeters, some I keep for the “industry currency”. I check out new followers before following back – if “offensive” they get blocked, if no profile and/or tweets I wait to see any development before following back. Tedious, maybe, but I have the time.
    I’m glad to be considered among your friends, Lois – you’re certainly among mine.
    Thank you!
    p.s. – We may need YOU, too! :-)

  • avatar Matt Nelson says:

    Thanks for sharing this great real life example Lois. I guess this all gets back to the age old “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” saying. Which I think holds pretty true for many of the people you come across in Twitter during the course of a day/week. It does take time to (all be it in small increments here and there) listen and gauge the value of what people are bringing to the table but without doing so you could potentially be eliminating some very important connections and channels from your ever evolving network.

    Keep the great content coming! Thanks.


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