I’m a small business owner in distribution. For 19 years I’ve dealt with people on various business levels. I admit that I’ve struggled with getting past “bad” first impressions. However, I still try my best to give almost everyone a second chance. It wasn’t easy, though, to sit through an hour-long meeting with an advertising representative addressing me as “Carol.”
The “Carol” story is true and probably one others have experienced. I received a stream of phone calls from an advertising representative at a radio station. Each time he called, I explained that I didn’t think radio was a good fit for my company’s product.
Eventually, I told the pushy gentleman, to write up a proposal and I would take a look.
The proposal arrived at my office. I was slightly annoyed to see the representative addressed me in the greeting as “Carol.” Considering the man was so eager to land my company as a new client, I thought it was a careless error.
A few days after I received the proposal, the man phoned to arrange a meeting. I mentioned that in the proposal he referred to me as “Carol.” Naturally, he apologized. I said, “No problem, I just want to clarify that my name is Cathy.”
I agreed to meet with him the following afternoon.
At 2 p.m., the scheduled time for our meeting, my phone rang. It’s the advertising rep. He was professional enough to call to let me know he was a “tad” late, but only five minutes from my office. I told him I appreciated the call.
He said, “I’ll see you in a few minutes, Carol.” What the heck? “I’m Cathy,” I said. He mumbled, “Excuse me?” I repeated, “My name is Cathy.” Again, he apologized. Honestly, I had serious doubts now that I could trust the guy with my advertising.
This rather scattered man finally made it to my office. Right in the middle of my lesson in radio advertising, somewhere between his well-spoken explanation of “drive time” and “radio demographics,” I clearly heard him say, “Carol.”
I was so irked at that point, everything else he said sounded like blah, blah, blah…blah, blah.
I wondered where this guy’s head was at. Did he have so much on his mind that he couldn’t get my name right? It wasn’t like I had an unusual name that was difficult to remember.
On the other hand, despite how absentminded he appeared, I believed he was a good guy just trying to make a living like everyone else. Do I tell him for the umpteenth time that my name is Cathy?
For whatever the reason, I decided to let it go. I realize great first impressions in business are generally fundamental. However, I liked this man. Perhaps he had a lot on his plate at the moment.
In the end, my company did do some advertising with the radio station he worked for. He did an excellent job handling our account.
As long as the advertisements had my small business name correct, it wasn’t a big deal.
“Carol” is a lovely name and all…it’s just not mine. Sometimes you have to give people a break and excuse a bad first impression.