A little thoughtfulness goes a long way

I was alone with the kids last weekend. I’m a competent dad so things were going fine. On Sunday morning we were still lazing around after pancakes wondering what to do with the day. I was wondering anyway, the kids were happy to watch stuff on the iPad and pet the dog for a while. It was still in the single digits and too cold to play outside. All in all, pretty peaceful.

Then the dog started barking. Then the doorbell rang. It’s pretty seldom that people ring the doorbell anymore so when when it happens the whole house is thrown into chaos. Dog barking, kids running around after the dog, me trying to get everyone to settle down. Chaos. When I finally got to the door, dog collar firmly in hand, I looked out the window and saw a woman I didn’t know. And she was holding a clipboard.

The last time that this happened it was a kid from WISPIRG. It was dinner time. I was not interested. But he kept talking. And talking. I finally just smiled and told him that I needed to get back to dinner. He blinked, looked down, stammered something I couldn’t understand and walked away. I felt a bit sorry for the guy, but not enough to follow-up on any of the information that he had given me.

The woman at my door on this particular morning was different. I opened the door with one hand, held the whining dog back with the other, probably said something mean to the kids, smiled, and said hello. She looked at me, smiled back, said “Hi, I’m Kelly Danner and I’m running for Dane County Board. Here’s my card, I can see you have your hands full. Let me know if you have any questions and have a great day.” I laughed a bit, agreed that I had my hands full, thanked her and closed the door. It took all of ten seconds and was all very pleasant.

So why am I writing about this now? It struck me that Ms. Danner is making a huge effort to go door to door as part of her campaign and introduce herself to the people she hopes to represent. I’m likely one of the few people that even opened the door that day. She was probably thinking that she would finally get a chance to say all the things that she’d be rehearsing. That she’d get a chance to move this house from lead to prospect. I mean if you think about it from a marketing perspective every door she knocks on is a like an email sent. Her open rate is likely pretty low and her click rate (actually getting a chance to talk to someone) is probably like 2%. For me to open the door and for her to choose not to talk to me based on what she saw happening was not only thoughtful, but really appreciated at the time.

Once the kids had gone back to watching the iPad and the dog was sleeping in front of the heater I made a point to look her up online. I hardly ever do that. But because she had been so thoughtful and passed up on the opportunity to move me through the funnel I was inclined to check out what she was all about. What I found there was a well put together, informative, thoughtful story about why she is running and why I should vote for her. And, while I’ll have to figure out how to forgive her for using “herstory” in the place of “history”, there’s a good chance I’ll vote for her. Or at least reach out to learn more.

Marketing is tricky. Sales is harder. Running for any kind of office is dance between the two. What I’ve found is that people try too hard most of the time. On that cold Sunday morning Ms. Danner got it right by being thoughtful. My guess is that will take her a long way.

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