Throughout my career, I have encountered business professionals who purposefully hide their identity for one reason or another. It might be that they work for a big brand or they have a big title. But I have to admit, even I hide every once in awhile. Sometimes you want to be anonymous for one reason or another. So, let’s examine if your business prospects are hiding? Here are, in my opinion, 5 points that can help you identify if your prospects are hiding from you.
1. Do they walk a tradeshow floor or an event with their registration badge flipped over so no one can see it?
2. Is their phone number missing on their email signature line?
3. Did they purposefully neglect uploading a photo on their LinkedIn profile?
4. Do they make it a point to never and I mean never have business cards to give when asked?
5. Are they vague when questioned about what they do (even though they most likely are the decision maker)?
So, now that you can think of someone or a situation that fits the bill of the above business hiding aspects; what do you do? Here are, in my opinion, 5 ideas to help reveal the hider and start building a long term sustainable business relationship with them.
1. Be Empathetic – they are hiding because they have been burned or stalked before by an overzealous business pursuer.
2. Be Honest – let them know that you really do want to understand their business needs and that you will protect and use their contact information with integrity.
3. Be Fair – let them know why you are interested in meeting and staying in contact with them. But, make it about them and not you.
4. Be Courteous - ask first, (if they don’t have a business card to share) up-front while in person if they are on LinkedIn; and, if so may you reach out and connect with them? This way they don’t feel ambushed when you invite them to connect later.
5. Be Gracious– always and I mean always thank them for their time. No one wants to be taken for granted.
So, if you think a prospect is hiding from you do not get discouraged! There are ways that you can start building a business relationship that is mutually beneficial as long as you are not the one hiding…
Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications. Sonya shares her experiences in her upcoming book series: Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business: Book 1 will be available in April, 2019.
Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.