Dear Salespeople Who Cold Call

I invite you to join the 21st Century

Dear Salesperson,

I’m sorry to have to say this to you but I don’t want you to contact me any more.

In case you forgot what bothered me. Here is an example of what you said:

I was hoping to get a few minutes of your time this week to briefly introduce myself and my company. We are the industry’s best price/performance advanced traffic manager — helping enterprises and ISPs maximize application through a high-performance and scalable Web Application Delivery Platform.
Is there a convenient time for us to chat so I can further explain how our solution can improve application performance?

You don’t sound like a human being. You have no idea if I have any interest in what you are selling. I don’t like you.

And this email. . .

Hey, I tried reaching you today but unfortunately got your voicemail. Are you available sometime this week for a brief 10 minute Webex? I’d love to show you active campaigns we’re running with sites similar sites and to answer any questions you may have.
Would this Wednesday around 12:00 pm PST work with your schedule?

I don’t want to sound picky, but I’m not on PST, so why would you schedule a meeting that doesn’t even relate to my time zone? Could it be because you don’t even have a clue where I am?

John, cold calling went out the door with door-to-door salesmen and mass marketing.

Interrupting me by phone or email is like coming up to me on the street and asking me if I would like to buy a blender. Yeh, maybe there’s a tiny chance I was thinking of buying a blender but . . . who are you?

Where did you go wrong, you ask? First of all, you never really tried to establish a relationship based on being helpful. I realize this takes time, but so does building a business. Your cold call is to selling what playing the slot machines is to earning a living.

Second, you never tried to understand anything about my business. Maybe if I were desperate for ways to spend my time and did decide to take your call, I know that your presentation is going to be as canned as the message I hear when I am on hold at my bank.

Stop talking and pushing what you have. Did you even look at my company’s website, Facebook page or Twitter stream? If you did, you wouldn’t talk to me the way you talk to every other company. Why wouldn’t you do some homework and wow me with your knowledge of my business and how you’ve found some low-hanging fruit that your product would fix?

Oh, I forgot, that would require effort.

What could you have done to make this work out? Maybe if I heard you speak at a conference, and thought you had something helpful and interesting to say I would give you my card. Maybe if you tweeted great links that helped me understand more about the issues I am dealing with in my business I would choose to follow you. Or, perhaps you could blog on a topic I am focusing on to build my business, and I could learn to care about and respect you. Or better yet, maybe you are so awesome at what you do that someone who used your service told me about it. It would be a start.

Yet, even these opportunities got flubbed. I spent a lot of money and time coming to a conference a few months ago. I visited your booth and asked for some information. You gave me the elevator pitch in language that may as well be Latin–something about an end to end solution that helps you leverage bla bla bla. When you talk to me maybe you could pretend that both of us are human? Then, to top it off, when a “more important” person came into your booth you turned away.

And here’s a tip that would really win me over: when we get down the road a bit and you know more about my business and I am clear that I need what you offer, don’t just keep following up incessantly if you don’t hear from me. Help me justify the ROI to myself and my CEO. If you could work with me to help me to at least give a credible projection of how I could succeed financially by connecting with you, I’d be yours.

There are things you could have done to become interesting to me; to make me trust you; to make me want to connect with you. John, a relationship takes time and effort and you weren’t willing to do what it takes. The fact is that you never even knew if I was in the market for someone like you.

Oh, you say, if that it what it takes, I might never talk to you. That’s right.

For future reference, don’t call me, I’ll call you. And, I’ll only do that if I’m interested and if you’ve given me a reason to think you’re different from the other guys.