Unsolicited Vendor Emails

On my about page, I make the following statement:

The site is not connected with my employment. In fact, I go out of my way to limit any direct references to my career. Absolutely nothing that I have written should be taken as an expression on my employer”™s behalf.

The rant that follows is just my rant. And it is all about unsolicited vendor emails and telephone calls.

On a quiet day, I’ll receive 40 or more unsolicited vendor emails — this is apart from the 300-400 emails that usually come in every day. Fewer calls, perhaps only 3 or 4. If I had to read, reflect and thoughtfully respond to each one, I would be spending anywhere between 2-3 hours a day on those emails. Imagine how much time would be taken if I agreed to meet with even half of the vendors that call me to request time on my calendar.

In a word, cold calling has become totally out of control.

I often wonder whether the companies that force people to do the cold calls see any kind of effective response rate. I used to reply personally when the volumes were more like 10 or so a day. When the volumes started to increase, I began to use a canned email response:

Thank you for your note and for your interest in our company.

Due to the very high volume of unsolicited requests for meetings and telephone calls, I can only make time available where we have a specific need or interest.

We do not have a specific need or interest in this area therefore a meeting or call is not required.

Kind regards,

I even toyed with the idea of automating the canned response by creating a rule or macro to run whenever certain keywords showed up in an email coming from an outside domain. Life, however is too short.

A friend shared me with this top ten things not to do to successfully sell to the CIO.

  • Spell my name right. Did I really need to tell you that? Apparently for many of you I really must.
  • Know what my company does. Please don”™t try to sell restaurant point of sale software to me. I am not the CIO for an Iron Chef.
  • Spend 5 minutes to review what you send. Do not just import the address you got from the mailing list directly into mail / email merge program. Letters that are addressed to “Dear Mr. Smith, L J “ really lose that personal connection you are trying so hard to make
  • Don”™t request a “read receipt” from me. Instant delete! It is bad enough that the NSA, Facebook and Google are already tracking me.
  • Don”™t send me offers for gift cards to meet you. First of all, it is just plain wrong to bribe people into meeting with you. Secondly, it probably violates most company policies, and maybe even some laws, to accept gifts from vendors. Finally, it is really insulting to me that you think I am sorry or desperate enough to forgo my ethics for a Starbucks gift Card.
  • Don”™t send your assistant to ask me to a meeting. Any email that starts out “my Director, Mr. X, is in your area on Tuesday April 22 at 9:15 and would like to meet with you” gets deleted. Wait; better yet I”™ll have my assistant delete it.
  • Resist the impulse to send an email the instant after you leave a voicemail. If I had the time or inclination to answer the phone, I would have.
  • Learn when to give up. Persistence may be a valuable, but there is a limit. When you receive no reply after say, 3 attempts, don”™t continue to fill the inbox (voice and email) with additional messages. It stands to reason that if I am not interested the first 5 times, I am not interested in the 6th.
  • Don”™t send me a list of the 10 dates and times that we can meet in the next 2 months. If anything will convince me to meet you it is a reasoned outline of the product you sell and why it benefits my company, not the fact that you happen to be free.
  • Don”™t solicit me if my company is already a customer. If we already buy your good or service, we probably won”™t buy it twice.

At this point, I have given up responding to unsolicited emails and calls. Most of the unsolicited vendor email is coming into spam anyway which is where the vast majority belong. There are some rare emails that look to be of potential interest. I do give unsolicited emails the benefit of a doubt. I’ll spend maybe 10-seconds on an email to see if it deserves any kind of follow-up.

Most of them are so poorly done, that I can usually delete them within the first 5-seconds.

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