Why Would I Ever Buy Anything From You?

What’s the first thing you do when you get mail delivered to your mailbox? Toss the junk mail in the recycle bin! So why should you expect anything different when you send junk e-mail and texts?

Is it just my imagination, or are you receiving a whole lot more junk email, InMail, and texts? How about annoying robocalls telling you to buy stuff that doesn’t even remotely interest you?

I recently ran a series of polls that posed the following question: When someone solicits you via phone call, emails, or text with an offer that doesn’t apply to you or interest you, what should be your response? Here’s how nearly 2,400 people saw it:

Most of us find junk solicitations to be unwelcome, annoying, and a waste of our time. What do we do with junk mail, annoying tv and radio commercials, and print ads that don’t interest us?

We simply ignore them and put whatever they’re selling out of our mind. Junk mail might even end up being useful as a fire-starter in your fireplace or firepit. And nobody enjoys being interrupted by a telemarketer.

Jerry Seinfeld does what most of us wish we could do the next time we get a call from a telemarketer:

Cyber Mugging on the Rise

Tell me… how many complete strangers have walked up to you and gotten you to fork over $1,000 in a moment or two?

You wouldn’t unless you were (heaven forbid) being robbed, mugged, or assaulted! If you resist or ignore them, they threaten you.

You and I are experiencing a mild form of cyber mugging when we receive an unsolicited offer that virtually demands that we take action and respond to the offer. In just the past week, here are several examples from among more than two dozen-plus solicitations I get every week as a small business owner:

Ex 1: Web Designer Solicitation.

I got this solicitation sent from the contact section of my website, via info @ my company.

I have a nice website that nets me thousands of visitors a month. Not likely that I’m going to trust it to some unknown person to work on it!

Other than getting a general email address at my company the person soliciting me knows nothing about me and told me nothing about him. Conclusion: Junk Email.

Ex 2: Own a Business Solicitation.

Here is a LinkedIn InMail solicitation I got. I get as many as four of these in a single day, all similarly worded with very little message customization. The ask is always the same: do I want to own a business? I’ve received nearly a hundred of these so far.

What bothers me is that none of the senders – and I mean none – bothered to actually look at my LinkedIn profile. If they had they’d see that for the last 25 years I’ve been the CEO, founder and owner of a corporation that bears my name… Boyer Management Group. Rather than cite a single fact they could glean from my profile (or visit my company’s website), they say general and meaningless things that could apply to 80 million fellow LinkedIn members. After politely declining the first 20 or so such solicitations, I now delete this junk InMail immediately.

Ex 3: Does Not Understand “No.”

I appreciate persistent people only up until they become pushy. This one has. He wants to sell me database services to help me prospect for new business.

Fact: we only need three or four new clients per year, we don’t use database marketing because 98% of clients re-engage us, refer others to us, and decision-makers take us with them when they change employers. As a result, we maintain a very full pipeline. Plus, anyone looking at my background of 40+ years in sales would see that I know how to prospect. I replied to his first InMail message (#1) by politely explaining how we market, and why we do not want or need database services.

Three days later I received an almost identical message from him (#2), which I again politely declined, explaining once more that we do not market using databases.

Ten days after message two I received a third request (#3) to speak with me.  At this point, he has not heard what I have said in prior explanations, so I reply “NO!” to his question. 

The following day I received yet another request (#4); by this point he has become downright pushy and annoying.  With no end in sight, I went to my LinkedIn settings and blocked him from contacting me again.

What else did he do incorrectly, besides using a sledgehammer approach and to badger me? 

  1. He assumed that we use database services from the start, which he never bothers to verify. My 6th grade teacher wrote the word ASSUME in big letters on the board and then circled ASS, U, and ME to remind the class that whenever we assume something, we make an ass out of you and me.
  2. He appeared to have done little or no research on what services we sell; certainly nothing was mentioned in his four InMail messages. Apart from using my name, there was no personalization.
  3. He ignored two detailed responses explaining why we do not use the services he sells. He proves that he does not listen, a cardinal sin for any sales and customer-contact professional.
  4. His message was entirely about what he wanted and what he was interested in selling.
  5. The tone of his messages is rude, impersonal, and disrespectful… more demands than requests.
  6. There is no evidence that his services are effective. Anyone can list company names and say they are clients; no proof or testimonials offered. Incidentally, there were no recommendations from customers on his LinkedIn profile.
  7. There were no engagement questions asked of me that might prompt a discussion or initiate a relationship from which he might interest me in what he sells.


What additional things were done incorrectly or inappropriately?  Please let me know in the comments section.

I hope these three examples illustrate why you might want to think twice before launching a similar junk message campaign. 


People Still Buy from People They Like and Trust

Nobody cares about what you sell and what your solution does… until they need it, and until they like and trust you to be the person to engage in a conversation about how your solution could answer their need. Then, remember that people want to be treated courteously and with respect.

The impersonal nature of electronic marketing is not relationship-nurturing – in fact, it does just the opposite when done blindly.  People are much more likely to respond favorably to marketing solicitations if they’ve been a customer before or have a relationship with the sender.  I’ll look at my Aldi’s flyer when it arrives in the mail each Thursday because I trust the brand.  Ditto the Wrangler email flyer.  And my favorite restaurant texts about their weekend specials.  I look forward to receiving InMail from people on LinkedIn I like and trust, and emails from friends and people I know.   

The challenge for marketers and sales professionals is that relationship-building and trust takes time.  So does discovering things about a person that indicates he or she might be a good prospect for you.

And when you do find an ideal prospect, in addition to getting to know them personally, take time to get to know their needs, wants, objectives, circumstances, motivation, and pain points BEFORE you start presenting the solutions you sell. 

You’ll not find success until you can answer two questions:

  1. What makes this person someone who would be willing to engage with me in a conversation right now?
  2. What can I do to develop a relationship with him or her so that I become trusted?

Bottom Line

There will always be a place for people and organizations who enjoy success in database marketing through direct mail, email blasts, television, and radio, and the like.  Throw enough spaghetti against the wall and some of it will stick.  But don’t expect more than a small fraction of people to even read, watch, listen or pay attention to your message just because you suspect they possibly might be a legitimate prospect.  Consider what you can do to build a relationship and learn about them first.

I love working with people and organizations who want to improve their effectiveness! Here are several outstanding resources that can help you and your organization to go to the next level:

  • Improving your (or your team’s) management and leadership skills: Leading Through People™. This acclaimed program equips participants in thousands of current and emerging best practices of leadership, hiring, and talent development.
  • Raising your (or your team’s) selling and sales management effectiveness: B2B Sales Essentials™ (among the 30-plus courses we offer are ones on selling with emotional intelligence and storyselling!)
  • Conducting a more effective job search: Get a Better Job Faster™

I help leaders and aspiring leaders improve their performance and acumen, and sales and marketing professionals to become more productive and effective. I also work with some of the world’s top employers by helping them get the most out of their talented people. My company’s extensive leadership development course catalog provides effective skills-building for everyone in the organization, from the new / developing leader to the seasoned C-level executive. We develop sales teams with our highly regarded B2B Sales Essentials™ and B2C Sales Essentials™ tailored sales curriculum.  My company’s coaching programs produce significant results in compressed periods of time. To find out more, please visit us at  www.boyermanagement.com, email us at info@boyermanagement.com, or call us at 215-942-0982.  


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