Please don't hate me for killing trees

The work I do is made up of a combination of contracting for other companies and marketing in-house professional development workshops directly to those responsible for booking training within organisations - including Learning and Development / HR Professionals, Program / Project Directors and Capability Directors, to name a few.

As you can see from the job titles, sometimes these people are tricky to get hold of. I have tried many different ways of marketing - from sending emails, writing articles, attending networking events and even sending actual 'stuff' in the mail.

While I completely agree that cold calling may work for many people, I personally prefer to receive information rather than a call myself, so it makes sense for me to do things that way. In all honesty, it can be difficult trying to get hold of someone, and if they actually do answer the call, they may be distracted, busy, about to head into another meeting or just listening to you so they don't appear to be rude.

As a result of that, one of the main ways in which I try to get the word out is by sending information in the mail, and like to do this for a number of reasons:

  1. The recipient can read the information at their leisure
  2. It is a form of communication that can hopefully be kept somewhere handy (and yes, admittedly, sometimes that 'handy' place is the bin)
  3. People get so many emails already these days, most of them are ignored or automatically go to spam
  4. No one really receives physical mail much anymore so it's probably a bit novel

Let's face it - no one wants to kill a tree. Sometimes it has to be done, so please don't hate me. Sending printed information works, and this is a real example:

Recently I sent some information packs out to key potential prospects about some of the exciting professional development workshops I'm offering this year. I got a call from one of them a few days later and the short story is that the conversation went a bit like this:

Prospect: "Hello, I received your brochure in the mail and I am keen to talk with you about some of your workshops."

Over about 5 minutes we discussed organisational needs based on a current project their company is running, potential target groups, topics offered etc and decided to meet up to discuss in more detail.

Me: "How are you placed for Thursday at 11am? I will even shout coffee."

Prospect: "Yes that works for me. I'm looking forward to it. Can I just ask you one thing?"

Me: "Of course".

Prospect: "The brochure is great but why didn't you just email it? Have you thought about how many trees had to die so that you could get this information out to me? Not to mention you had to pay for the stamp too."

Me: "I have emailed you twice in the last 6 months and this is the first time you have called me, after receiving a hard copy in the mail."

Silence.

Prospect: "Oh, fair enough. OK, well I'll see you Thursday".

The Prospect is now a Client and we have booked two workshops to be delivered in March.

I hope the trees forgive us both.

PS - if you would like for me to send you some information on workshops, either via email or hard copy, please get in touch :)