Unsolicited Political Text


Yesterday I received an unsolicited text message from someone pitching a local political candidate.

I’m not sharing this story to publicly shame anyone. I’m sharing it because there’s a business and life lesson here. So I’ll change the names to protect the guilty.

The text said, “Hi Thomas,” (that was the first clue this was junk; no one who knows me calls me “Thomas”), “This is ‘John Doe’ from ‘Advocates for Change’ volunteering for ‘Jane Smith for City Council.’ Jane has been…working to create a (city) that works for all. Thomas, can we count on your vote?”

I found the candidate on Facebook and messaged her: I told her that I had received an unsolicited text message on behalf of her campaign. I wrote, “Please don’t!!!”

I really hate receiving unsolicited text messages (and phone calls).

To her credit, the candidate replied quickly.

That’s when the excuses and hand-wiping started: “(The text-sender) is an independent political organization from our campaign and legally I can not coordinate with their get-out-the-vote efforts. You will need to contact them directly for any complaints. Sorry about that.”

At least she said, “Sorry.” But come on!

Raise your hand if you think that a local political organization funds, plans and runs a get-out-the-vote campaign without the knowledge and approval of the candidate?

She knew this was happening, and I told her so. I also said, “Telling a group that you don’t want them to conduct SMS spam on your behalf would not cross the ‘coordinate efforts’ line.”

This candidate is all about “clean government” which, in my opinion, made the transgression worse.

So I wrote: “Given your efforts to clean up government (and make it more transparent) — which I respect — I find it ironic that you are benefiting from a local PAC but then washing your hands of it when voters complain about the PAC’s actions.”

Again to her credit, she checked with the political organization and reported back to me.

But she gave me more hand-wiping and (pardon the expression) ass-covering: The organization claimed I had opted-in to receive messages (not true!!!), and they were acting “in accordance with campaign ethics laws,” she told me.

Blah, blah, blah.

The moral of this story — the lesson for you in business and life — is simple: Own your stuff.

If you do something wrong, your prospects and customers will often forgive you — if you own your mistake.

Don’t hide and say, “It wasn’t me. Those other people did it.”

If someone objects to your actions, don’t smother them in legalese.

I don’t give a hoot whether the organization was acting in accordance with campaign ethic laws.

Wiping your hands, covering your ass, ducking for cover, blaming the other guy — such practices seem hard-coded in politicians’ DNA.

But it’s not just politicians. Business people are not immune.

Check those tendencies at the door. Own your stuff. Admit your mistakes.

Your customers and prospects will be grateful. You and your business will be stronger for it.

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.

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