Can the Spam

If you’ve ever read a blog post of mine, heard me speak or follow some of my musings on LinkedIn and Twitter, you know that I really hate it when I receive sales spam in my email and/or LinkedIn inbox from people that I do not know. Whether it is a cold call or a cold email, it is still cold.

The effective use of technology presents huge opportunities for the savvy salespeople who get it. These rock stars know that using social media gives them an avenue for building relationships and demonstrating expert credibility BEFORE sales opportunities present themselves. There are however, too many salespeople using technology as a way to send the same boring, boilerplate sales spam to anyone with an email address.

Aside from the fact that the emails are unsolicited junk, they also violate the email marketing CANN-SPAM act, which requires that you give people an easy way to “opt out”. Sending email means I can only get off your list if I block your email. Random emails like random sales phone calls aren’t likely to net you anything of much value. Yes, I know there are raving fans and believers of cold calling who also think there isn’t a thing wrong with slamming out random emails to people that don’t know them. Maybe I won’t change your mind, but over time, when you realize that your sales efforts could be put to better use, maybe you’ll try a different tact.

I thought that I would share a few of the recent emails that have shown up in my inbox lately. Included with each one are my thoughts about the message and approach. Since I’m a professional, I am not including the individuals name and company, though I’ll admit, I’m tempted. But I don’t want to be a jerk about it; I just want to show people that this is NOT the way to sell. I’d love to hear your comments!

Sales Spam Message # 1

Subject Line: Can We Meet Next Week?

Hello Barbara,

I know your time is valuable so I will make this quick.  I provide quality custom clothing for ready-made prices.

My suits start at $295, trousers at $169 and shirts at $88.  No company around is like us and if you’re interested, I would like to meet you.  Please visit our website (link below) at your convenience.  It will answer some immediate questions you may have.

Do you have any free time to meet at your office next week?  Do you need clothes for the summer or have issues with your wardrobe?  Please contact me to schedule an appointment.

XYZ Salesperson

Barb’s comments: If you know my time is valuable then why are you wasting it sending me unsolicited email? I took a minute to browse the website referenced and frankly, I was not impressed. It looks male oriented and even though they say they have a line of executive suits for women, there is not a single testimonial from a female client. Message to said male salesperson…clothing is uniquely personal. Dude, you are a stranger. Do you really think I’m going to allow you to show up at my office and take my clothing measurements? What are you thinking? Biased perhaps, but that’s how it is.

Sales Spam Message # 2

Subject Line: Unbeatable Business Phone Service – Summer Sales

Hello Barbara,

I wanted to let you know about the unbeatable business phone service offer available during 8×8 Summer Sizzle Sale, which starts now!

There has never been a better time to sign up for new business phone service.

Check out the details of this offer:

– Unlimited calling for the unbeatable monthly price as low as $19.99 / extension

– Free account setup

– Free shipping

– Free first month of service

Call today to take advantage of this great offer! Offer expires at midnight June 30th, 2011.

Thank you,
XYZ Salesperson

Barb’s comments: There is nothing here that tells me why I’d want to do business with this person or this company. What does she know about my business? I guess this sales gal thinks “cheap” is all it takes. Why is the service unbeatable? If price is the sole sales strategy then it’s going to be a bumpy ride for her during her sales career. Well, that’s if it lasts at all. Seriously, you can’t do any better with your sales proposition? How do I know that this deal is the best for me? Have you analyzed my business needs? Do you know what telephony tools I use today? Nope, because if you did, you would know that I use Google Voice, which is FREE and includes a voicemail box and a transcription service. All of my voicemails are transcribed and sent via text to my mobile phone. Hard to beat free missy!

Spam Message #3

Subject Line: Fw: Linkedin Groups – The Psychometric Froum

Many contributors to this forum have now criticized aspects of psychometric methodology and have referred to authors that have done so for the past 60 years or more.

Yet common practice still entails the use of limited experimental designs, mostly random controlled trials, weak quantification, weaker assessment methodologies, causal inference based on correlational models …etc. We end up with a rigid theoretical structure and measurements that filter out some of the critical aspects of what we are interested in. But still many psychometrists, statisticians in the field and test designers happily apply their linear approach… Blah, blah, blah… it is a lengthy psycho-babble diatribe that would have just taken up too much space in this post.

Barb’s comments: This is spam, but this time the woman wasn’t selling me anything. I’m including it because it just annoys me. This gal got my name from a coaching website about 18 months ago. Though I have repeatedly said that I’m not interested in her assessments – I sell my own! – she still sends me random crap. For starters, if I was interested in this LinkedIn group, I would have joined myself. What really bugs me is that I don’t know why she is sending me this information at all. What does this have to do with me? Why do I care? No opening comments defining the purpose…she just simply forwarded me the post. I did send an email asking AGAIN that she stop sending me this kind of thing. Her response…”Sorry you feel that way, but I haven’t sent anything all year.” Clueless just got junked!

What’s my point?

For decades, the sales profession has gotten a bad rap. It is unfair, but totally understandable when you encounter people who are completely ignorant to the principles of great selling. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying from a stranger who sends me an email with today’s “great deal” out of the blue. If you are in sales and feel compelled to send an unsolicited sales pitch to someone, perhaps it might be prudent to stop for a minute and think about what you are doing before you actually hit send.


  1. says

    Barbara, this post really hit home for me because I am getting slammed with LinkedIn Sales SPAM. Here was the latest – someone sent me a invite with a custom message (seemed fair enough and it was with a company I might want to learn more about), which I accepted with a reply message that I look forward to see his activity on LI. The next day I got an email SPAM sales letter that I ignored since I didn’t ask for any of the materials or have the time. The following day I got a phone call from a middle east country with a sales pitch.
    This is happening more frequently since the “sales” teams are getting shut down on email.

    I hate to see LinkedIn get abused this way. I am going to start build a wall of shame for these sales SPAM emails so I can generate an example post like this! Thanks for reminding everyone on the sales side not to “be that guy.”


    • says

      Thanks Wendy! This was a topic of hot conversation in one of the LinkedIn sales groups that I belong to. Some of these folks are using the guise of replying to you personally based on a comment you might have made as a part of the discussion. Instead of the message being about the discussion topic, it was a sales pitch. In our case, the group manager booted them out.

      Maybe we should combine forces and capture all of these idiotic sales pitches and put them in a book.

      I was being kind in not naming these people…others in my camp…not so much:)


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