I received a call on my business line the other day from a young man with a fairly heavy New York accent who called to congratulate me for being recognized for my contributions and to welcome me to the 2013 Stanford’s Who’s Who – Canadian Edition.
For those of you unfamiliar with this organization, Stanford Who’s Who, is an “elite organization of selected executives, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world who’s members are hand selected from across the globe and invitation is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their occupation, industry, or profession.”
I got that from their Linkedin page.
After explaining to me a little about the organization and boosting up my confidence, he then needed to cross-reference information from me, which to be honest seemed like he was gathering information he should have known if I was really “one of Canada’s most influential people”, as he claimed.
“You should have done your homework” I thought to myself.
“I just need to verify this information for your biography” he quickly said as if he were reading my mind.
Then the questions started, and as I was answering them, a whole bunch of things entered my mind;
1) Who are Stanford’s Who’s Who? Certainly not part of Stanford University otherwise they would have mentioned that right away one would think, and the phone number would have identified that.
2) What specifically are they calling in regards to? Am I being recognized for my Blogging? Tax expertise? 20+ year Ball hockey career? Coffee expertise? For having a MBA? Really I’ll take any of those but should he have identified this right away so I don’t have to ramble!
3) How much is this going to cost me, because if there is a huge fee, I’m out. I started my own business 2 weeks ago so I need to be even more fiscally responsible over the next couple of months as my practice grows.
and so he continued… Pumping up my ego and making it seem like they were waiting to make contact with me for the publication.
There are some 100,000 people world wide in this publication, so it’s not as prestigious as they led me to believe right away, but heck, I can share the spotlight with these folks, right?
Then he said the magical words to me; “Well, based on the information you have just confirmed with me I would say you are definitely someone that will continue to have a large impact in your field and we would like to welcome you to the 2013 Stanford Who’s Who Canadian Section”.
As well as networking opportunities with tens of thousands of “like-minded people”, I just need you to decide between the Platinum and Gold packages, the first being $899 for five years and the second being $699 for five years.”
“I see,” I said, pausing ever so slightly so he would not think that I just dropped the phone. “Canadian or US dollars” I asked.
He paused… much too long for my liking.
“US Dollas” he replied.
“Oh” I replied, now looking at my watch and realizing that I had 15 minutes to get to a client who was 15 minutes away.
“Is it the money?” he asked.
“No, it’s not that at all” I replied. “I’m an influencer… You said so yourself. Money is not the problem, but time is. I’m scheduled to meet a client in 15 minutes and I have to leave now. Can we talk later today?” I asked.
“Does it seem expensive?” he said. “We need your decision today so we can meet our print deadline.”
“Um …” I said. “If I’m holding up the print deadline then either you waited too long to contact me, or I’ll have to wait and be in next year’s edition. I mentioned that I just opened my own practice and I’m going to be late for a client meeting if we continue. Can we speak later on? Is there a number I can reach you at?”
“I’ll tell you what we’ll do. I’m going to take the price down to $599 for the Gold membership AND you can upgrade to a Premium for free after three years if you choose to. But you can’t tell ANYONE about this deal we’re making.”
“Sure,” I said. “And I have my credit card in my hand, but I am pressed for time and will not be making any decision which requires me to give a credit card over the phone in 15 minutes because you are pressed for time. I have a client meeting to attend to and either we are able to touch base later or I’ll have to opt of of this version. Which will it be?”
“I’ll need an address to send your paperwork to,” he said. “Can you give me that? There’s some stuff you need to sign.”
“I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time right now…”
And so the conversation ended. They hung up on me. Can you imagine? I’m an influencer. I’m a somebody. Or in reality, I’m just like everyone else looking for an edge over our competitors and peers and clicked through an ad on LinkedIn prompting the flattering phone sales pitch.
Would I ever give my credit card over the phone? No.
Would I sign up for something that seemed too good to be true without reading the fine print? No.
Would I want to be recognized for something special, sure, who wouldn’t but there is a price I would be wiling to pay and it would have to be something legitimate where they want me to read the fine print before taking my money. Once the hard sell starts, I walk away, and so should you.
Have you heard of Stanford’s who’s who? Have you bitten on their offer?