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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Help to get investor-ready

Screen shot of the Money Dashboard home page after their talk sharing experience of raising fundingunding
Money Dashboard Shows the Way to Funding

At an Edinburgh Science Triangle event tonight on making innovative companies investment-ready, George Hall from (who's been through 5 stages of raising funding) recommended allowing an extra 20% for PR, marketing & sales on top of building the product. After all, there's no point in creating the best product if someone else is doing better at selling...

Gayle Mann from which runs the Connect programme was making a plea for innovative companies to apply for their investment-ready-making process which puts a lot of resources into developing companies and plugging gaps with non-execs etc, culminating in a chance to pitch to investors. It's all free to the developing companies and there's no obligation to accept any of the funding offers if you don't feel there's a natural synergy with the investor.

The applications - which she promised are "basic" - have to be in by Sept 6th. The opportunity only happens once a year and an application gets you into their system.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

No More Mrs Nice Guy When it Comes to Cold Callers

word cloud picture of an article on how cold calling annoys people - Cold response to cold calling - bad PR
Cold response to cold calling

There's good research that shows an interruption disrupts your concentration to the extent that it takes 15 minutes to regain your full flow on that PR Plan, proposal, press release, headline or web copy.

These telephone disruptions must collectively represent huge chunks of time being stolen from business people every day by cold callers.

Just what are the chances that you have just decided to buy something they offer or change supplier at the moment they ring? If you're anything like me, it's about the same odds as Elvis being alive and living on the moon.

It's not surprising that a survey of London consumers listed cold calling at the bottom of a long list of sales tactics as their least favourite.

Cold calling is intrusive, interruptive and counter-productive.

Thanks to inappropriate cold calling, I'll never even consider E-on as an energy supplier, and here's why.

The cold caller from E.on the other day had such a thick foreign accent, I could hardly understand them. The phone line quality was poor. Worse, they had the wrong name. And when given a clear signal that the call was not welcome, they ploughed straight on anyway. I eventually put the phone down.

It was followed by another caller who claimed they had already spoken to someone in the company I'd never heard of. Since we use virtual associates, there's only me, so....
And again, would not take no for an answer.
They insisted they had to take my name before they could change their records - ignoring my pleas to be excluded from their records altogether. I refused on the grounds that these were their rules, not mine, so no doubt they'll persist with the same wrong contact name.

Then another call came in wanting to speak to the person who ran the company. I said I doubt if she'd take a call from someone that didn't know her name so they tried a wrong name. Do they think we're daft? It's an insult to our intelligence!

Another caller was asked to stop when he asked for the person in charge of mobile phone contracts. I said we had no interest. When he ploughed on, I put the phone down. The man called back twice. I couldn't believe anyone could be so thick - what part of "no, I'm not interested and don't want this call" did he not understand? The last time, I put the phone down on the desk and resumed working. I could vaguely hear him droning on and on to thin air. Eventually he realised the lights had gone out and everyone had left the building. I don't know how long we held his line, but I like to think we spared a few poor sods from his relentless tactics.

There's nothing wrong with a contact you have met a few times and got on well with ringing you up to get an update and give you their news and if you're interested, suggest a coffee. Or someone you have an in-depth online relationship with (note: in-depth online means lots of direct 1-2-1 forum, comment posts or email exchanges) ringing up or emailing about something that is a genuine opportunity or likely to be of interest (as long as it doesn't directly involve buying anything).

It wouldn't be so bad, but we are listed on the telephone preference scheme (TPS) as 'do not contact' but cold callers think we're fair game because our phone number is listed online.

What on earth are these companies thinking of? Why are they not using TPS-cleaned lists?

Can't they see how damaging this behaviour is to their reputation and business?

That's the last time I forget to forward our calls to our lovely call answering service (Connect in Edinburgh). They'll deal with callers more politely than I would after this latest batch of manner-less callers.

And if I forget to forward my calls, be warned: no more Mrs Nice Guy. The phone goes down - period.

Freedom to think and write undisturbed is a precious commodity when you have to come up with the goods in a creative business.

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