I got a phone call a few days ago from my friend Steve who is a fellow independent professional. He said to me at the beginning of the call, "David, I'm calling you as a reference."
So I'm thinking, "OK, he wants to hire someone I've worked with or someone I know - perhaps even a client of mine whose testimonial he saw on my website."
I say, "Steve, what can I do for you?"
And then he mentions someone's name. Let's call this person Larry. Now I like Larry and he's a good guy - perhaps a little confused about his marketing and messaging... and frankly that's OK because Larry is NOT a client of mine (although I've given him plenty of chances!)
Steve stops me and says, "No, no... I don't want to hire Larry. Larry wants to hire me. I'm calling you to ask you what kind of client do you think he would be?"
Wow. It's not a consultant reference, speaker reference, or service provider reference - Steve was asking me (essentially) "Would this guy be a good client?" FYI Steve saw me connected to Larry through LinkedIn and some other social media sites.
Lessons for YOU:
- We live in a hyper-connected world
- People DO read your social media profiles
- People DO judge you on the "company you keep" both online and off
- If you're a pain in the ass - as a consultant, speaker, vendor, partner, OR client... word will spread faster than you can imagine
- The top people in their field (ahem, YOU) do not have the bandwidth nor the interest to work with folks who are a pain in the butt
- YOU can't afford to be a pain in the butt on EITHER side of the professional services buying equation
Comments? What do you think? Have you had some experiences to share along these lines? Would love to hear from you in the Comments section below...