Do What You Must to get to the CIO

sales meeting
At the office yesterday, a letter had been placed on my desk, nicely removed from it’s envelope by my assistant.
Everything on the envelope was handwritten, including the return address. It was all in a smooth flowing cursive; reminding me of my primary school teachers and looking like a personal letter that only my mother would still send.
Ok, now I am intrigued. why is this letter on my desk? It must be something important enough that it passed the screening test of my assistant and it she placed it there directly in my flight path to intentionally earn a moment of my time and attention. My assistant serves as a tremendous filtering gate, removing a vast number of sales attacks from every reaching me. (I’ll share some stories in the future about how aggressive, rude, and downright nasty so many of those business development people are to her.)

So, I next scanned the letter, a typed one and it was immediately identifiable as a sales letter; done as a basic mail merge with my name and company inserted at predictable spots, and hand signed by Karen L. Since this letter was clearly intended for a sales purpose, my state of intrigue transitioned to becoming immediately baffled. Why was this letter even on my desk and not already in the recycle bin? I then read the first line and there it was…a simple reason why it was on my desk – it was the opening sentence. It stated “I wanted to thank you for accepting my friendship on LinkedIn and very much appreciate your response to my email.”
That sentence showed just enough evidence that my assistant concluded that Karen and I had an established relationship, although she did  pause to reflect on the validity, she decided to pass the letter on for my viewing; after all Karen clearly expressed the interactions that solidified our pre-existing relationship.

There was just one flaw in the stream of success that Karen had achieved so far in her business development journey to get to this particular CIO. It was in that opening statement that she wrote in her letter with her company letterhead adorning the top left corner – it turns out there was not a shred of truth to any of it. I was not connected to Karen on LinkedIn (for a “friendship” – what on earth?) nor had I ever exchanged email correspondence with her.
Well done Karen! You and your employer, trying to create business opportunities out of thin air got to the desk of the CIO! Bravo!
Karen what you and employer don’t realize is that you have done irreparable damage to yourself, your company, it’s other employees, and it’s investors. Your brand arrived at my desk and captured that so desired moment of my attention based on a foundation of trickery and lying. Your very first move to begin a relationship destroyed the opportunity to ever establish credibility. For me to do business with you, you ultimately need me to trust you, your company and the product offering. Credibility must be built to such a degree that am willing to take a business and professional risk on your organization to invest in your offering for use inside my enterprise, where I am accountable for performance and quality.

Karen, your letter and method have made it easy for me to make a business decision, so thank you. You have been permanently written off and I will never consider business with you or your employer. You have demonstrated everything I need to know to make a decision from your elegantly addressed form letter. You have no integrity, you have no ethics. You can also let your CEO that I’ll be sure to share my experiences with you and your company at CIO gatherings, as we enjoy trading insights about vendors.

Mr.CIO Talks
Mr. CIO Talks has spent the last 20+ years working with information technology. He has been a start-up entrepreneur; worked in a consulting and sales capacity, led IT organizations, along with other responsibilities in addition to CIO. He has held IT leadership responsibility across several industries and in global geographies. He has served in an executive officer role in both times of market growth and contraction. He has served on the boards of several organizations, from board chair to committee chair, to board member; from the publicly traded firm to the not-for-profit, to government appointed. He currently spends his time as a CIO,  board member,  volunteer, and an advisor.
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