The awkward moment when you put your foot in your mouth

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Well if you are a baby, it’s ok to put your foot in your mouth, but being an adult, this is something that one should not wish to another. And it’s actually what happened (or what I did) to a guy the other day. Having some online presence through my personal pages but also through the pages of our family business, Kimolia, I come accross a great variety of individuals that are looking to sell something to me or our cafe in general.

When it comes to me, people usually look at my LinkedIn profile and get an idea of what I know and what I don’t, so their approach is more or less informed and careful, as it should be. On the other hand, there are the people that look to sell stuff to me as Kimolia (small cafe in Plaka), so in this case, it’s usually sending the same message over and over again, changing nothing, to any page on Facebook that has the word “cafe” in its title and is located in the Athens area.

The offers range from anything related to cleaning equipment to consulting services to tech-startups for the hospitality sector. For these last ones, I have a really soft (or hard) spot in my heart! I love these guys that are in most cases some Zucherberg wannabees, that would not know their left from their right about servicing and catering for someone. But they have memorized a couple of terms and phrases of the Web 2.0, or have read one book or two on digital marketing, social media, etc. So they throw these terms in the face of some previous-generation cafe-owners and this makes them THE EXPERTS!

What they do is that they create some seminars, a free service, some kind of consulting on how to manage your social media, as they tend to think that doing social media on an old cafe somewhere, will actually turn it into the talk of the town! Just like that! They seem to think, or to be exact that’s what they sell, a concept of the “Lemonade Tycoon” in real life… And then, once they give something for free (Freemium, etc.) they come and try to reel you in, selling some expert advice for your business that will make a huge impact!

This expert advice and services, being a post each day on a Facebook page that they probably stuff with likes from third-world countries, or simply by posting too many adds on Facebook. And maybe a cropped photo with a nice saying beneath, etc. Cause they are THE EXPERTS!

One of those experts came to me the other day and tried to sell something similar. He sent the copy-pasted message and then waited for an answer. I gave him one by politely (God is my witness) refusing to attend the seminar pointing out that we already use social media in Kimolia (Facebook; Twitter; Flickr; Instagram; WordPress, Website) and we do have a social media strategy that outlines how we work with them.

It seemed that my reply was not well-accepted, as this know-it-all saw right through me and decided that I was just saying all those things to get rid of him. He didn’t even bother to do some research on Kimolia and its online presence! Nothing! So, he decided to attempt to make me look like an idiot, just by throwing some random words at me. His message in Greek is below, and the translation goes like this… “Thank you for your prompt reply! I would like to ask you if you work with Lead Capture Pages – newsletter system and auto responders to optimize the conversion of those who see your website to immediate customers“, or something like that.


The guy (a) did not realize that he is talking to a cafe owner, which means that the immediate conversion to customers is not feasible, at least with the current technology. So from the start, he’s doomed. Everything else that he wrote lost any credibility. I don’t know, maybe in the future you will be able to e-mail a cappuccino – that’s a nice idea actually. And (b) he did not realize that he has been talking all this time to a stubbord, highly opinionated individual with a BSc in Business, an MSc and a PhD in Information Science and a hobby of reading all this social media-internet marketing-startup related books that he gets his hands on…

I am not going to go into the specifics of my answer. I will just say that I was firm but polite, maybe too polite and that I never got a reply back, cause I am guessing he either broke down or he’s still trying to figure out what happened.. I assume that he will be a bit more cautious and prepared talking to the next potential customer. Or he won’t. Till then, I am really looking forward to some similar cases. I know I am being mean but I do enjoy it!


One thought on “The awkward moment when you put your foot in your mouth

  1. Very good example of poor research and preparation. The same can happen to any salesperson, on any industry and can really ruin all the good job that has been done! Please share more thoughts and examples like these, as they are fully applicable to raise concern and highlight the importance of excellent preparation and research!

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