The Blatant Disrespect of Involuntary Drip Emails

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

We recently reached out to an industry contact because we wanted to use his firm for an upcoming high consideration / high value purchase (I’m being intentionally vague here). We've known him for a few years and he's always been a super nice guy. When we began looking at options together, he was friendly, knowledgeable, and made it clear that he'd take great care of us. Everything was going great.

And then the emails started.

The drip marketing emails. You know the type. They started trickling into our inbox, offering us all kinds of promotions we had no use for and consultations on products we didn’t want. He had added our name to some database, and now we were on the hook for every intrusive email his company wanted to put out.

This professional relationship -- years in the making -- that had us feeling so optimistic was soured, just like that. We felt taken for granted. Disrespected.

It’s common sense to respect the people you meet in all of your engagements, but it’s not enough to put your best foot forward in your first interaction or when face to face with clients. You have to mean it. You have to follow through with integrity.

Unfortunately, many sales people don’t get it. They’ll charm you, bend over backwards to please you, and ooze politeness in early conversations but then go and do something completely uncivilized, like add you to a drip email list. This turns a potentially lucrative relationship into an antagonistic one and lowers their credibility about 100%.

Of course, we would be remiss to accuse sales people of being the only ones who perform this discourteous act. Plenty of “professionals” will add your name and information to a company database, even if they only met you briefly and even if you aren’t their target audience. No one likes to be inundated with emails, especially ones they didn’t sign up for or have no interest in to begin with.

If you want to add a potential client to your email list as part of your sales process, there are better, less invasive ways to achieve this. Just ask the person if they would be interested in learning more about your product or shoot them an email before you add their information to a database. Don’t surprise them with spam in their professional inbox about your ROI software or social media aggregator. It makes a potential client feel like you don’t respect their time or value them as a person.

Maybe it’s the way you were taught, maybe it’s the culture of your organization, or maybe (and we hope this isn’t the case) you’re just lazy. Maybe you like to take shots in the dark, thinking that if you get enough people on your email list someone just might convert. Or maybe you just don’t know how to make friends and influence people. Whatever the case, we ask that professionals be more considerate of the people they collect business cards from and exchange emails with—and more mindful of how they use this information.

Is that too much to ask?

Written by Brian Easter on March 13, 2014


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