Disclaimer: I am not a marketing or sales person, and I probably would not become one if my life depended on it - it's just not my thing.
With that out of the way, we can move on to a question that some of you might have: When does someone else's marketing effort yield the opposite result of what they wanted to achieve? Here are a few examples.
As the CEO of our company I get my share of emails and calls from people who want to sell me something. I'm fine with that. Most of the time. Because I can ignore it - my junk mail filter has become pretty efficient, and I can have my phone block unwanted callers.
But that hasn't stopped many from trying - it's their job, and they are judged (and paid) by their success.
So let me give some advice to you marketers. This is personal, and I don't claim it applies to all of you, but my guess is that many of you will agree with me.
As a marketing/sales person, you might have spent a ton of money buying a list from a source that claimed to give you instant access to thousands of decision makers in my industry. Guess what - that list has been sold more than once, so you're in good company with your competition. You might have even curated that list, added information to it. Doesn't matter much, if my first name was misspelled the same way in two different emails I assume it's because you both got it from the same source.
If you try to connect with me on LinkedIn and your job title is "Business Development Manager", I pretty much know what's going to happen next. I can start an egg timer between the time I accept a connection and the first email that pops up in my inbox from my new connection. At that moment, I'll have just become a target. And it turns me off.
Someone I know recently posted these two status notes:
"Please, no more unsolicited emails and inquiries. I swear, if I am in need of outsourcing, offshoring, staffing, etc. - you will all know. If you are a tech vendor, I rarely reply to unsolicited inquiries. Let's not make LinkedIn into Facebook please."
"To the [...] people and companies that have reached out to connect or try and engage me in offshoring or whatever: Please note very clearly I will never do work with you. [...] You folks give recruiters and legitimate offshore folks a bad name. And you are ruining LinkedIn. Now stop it."
There we have it. How does that make you feel? Do you still think that your "target" has just been waiting for your message? All your efforts have probably made sure that the recipient has just added you to their spam filter.
Let's not forget the cold-callers. During your adolescent years you probably went through the pain of having a crush. You tried to call that person, were turned down, and eventually your calls were not even answered. Did you learn from that? If you didn't, you're probably still calling, now working for a research or marketing firm... Do you think the person you're calling will eventually pick up the phone?
Do you believe that after all the constant calls and emails, I still value your "services" enough to buy them?
And what really ticks me off are those “follow-up” emails that sound like this:
“I wanted to check with you if you had a time to go through my previous email.”
“I wanted to be sure you received my previous email because I’d still love to see if we could have a quick conversation.”
I would be tempted to respond that I don’t have time for your request but then I would waste my time anyhow. I certainly don’t like to be told how to handle my email habits so I have created an automatic response to some of those emails that points to this article. And if you are reading this it has at least increased the hit count on our website. Thank you.
As stated at the top of this post, I may be suffering from a rare, hopeless case of sales-aversion.
Good sales people are out there. They are not obnoxious. They stay in touch without being pushy. They know their stuff. They take me - the customer - serious. They know what I might need. And when I need something, I know whom to contact.