It’s not my job as the prospect to figure out why I should talk to sales reps.  It shouldn’t be on my shoulders to reply to every single inbound email without any ounce of value or perceived benefit from the sender.  I shouldn’t be shamed or guilted into engaging.

And yet, it seems that’s exactly what many sales development reps want from me and countless other email recipients lately.

Aggressive pursuit and follow-up from salespeople isn’t anything new.  But the volume of “why haven’t you responded to me” emails appears to be on the rise.

I get that we’re reaching the end of the month and the end of the quarter.  But in just the past two weeks, I’ve seen emails that literally say the following:

“I don’t want to waste your time, I know you’re busy. If this is something you would like to pursue but have been busy, I am happy to set up a time based on your availability. If you are not interested in reviewing how <company name> might be a fit for you right now, let me know and I can take you off my list.”  (this after three previous emails asking for 15 minutes without explaining the topic, value proposition or agenda)

“Matt, I’ve reached out a few times over the last couple weeks, but I’m not here to annoy you. If the timing’s not right, or it’s not a fit, I understand.  I’m going to take no response as an indicator that one of the above is true.” (they asked for the meeting but never explained what it was for)

“Hey Matt, just wanted to make sure you got my last email.”

“Have you been too busy to read our important messages?”

“Have you been kidnapped or eaten by an alligator?” (yes, this is verbatim from a recent prospecting email)

Honestly, I have no problem with sales reps who are proactive, who work hard to get the deal or conversation.  But if you ask for a meeting without telling me what’s in it for me, the answer is no.  If you expect me to read and engage with every email I receive (especially those that prioritize your needs, not mine), you’re fooling yourself.

Don’t tell me I should love your product because you have a quota to hit.

Don’t badger me for a response without making it worth my while.

Don’t assume my priorities are your priorities.

And I have yet to find a scenario where making me feel bad for not responding is a path to building trust, credibility, respect and conversion.

The alternative, of course, is simple and accessible to anyone.  Make your message about the recipient.  Take two seconds to learn a bit about them and customize your approach.  Pitch the outcome, THEN ask for a response.

Yes, this means you need to try a little harder.  Take a little more time to improve your approach.

But if you want my attention, that onus is on you, not me.





  • I literally just got this email and had to add it here. Seriously, do the people writing these like getting them personally? Do they really think they are going to work?!

    Nowhere in this email is there any real indication of what the product does, why I should care, what benefit it will provide. They just want to “get me all excited” about their shiny object…

    Subject Line: Hey Matt, is this the end of the line?

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve tried to reach you a few times now to get you all excited about WorkCast and our newest webinar package, Present+. However I haven’t heard back from you which tells me one of three things;

    1) You’re all set with your current solution or strategy and I should stop bothering you.

    2) You are interested in Present+ (duh!), but haven’t had the time to sign up yet.

    3) You visited the Present+ Page and you would like to learn more.

    Please let me know which, replying with 1, 2 or 3 will suffice.

    Then I can make sure I either continue to send you amazing content and information about Present+ or leave you alone, your choice. I’m very reasonable, I know.

    Anyway, let’s stay friends,

    Mike Bowman

  • Nicholas Boles

    HAHAHA I also have been receiving these emails and also cannot understand the thought process behind them.

  • No More BS Please

    Got to tell you – I delete emails at a very high rate of deletion.

    In fact I generally go through them in the morning and start by simply reading the header and deciding to delete or read.

    It happens fast and I often end up with only one or two emails to read and respond to.

    You want to sell me something?

    I better need it or I am walking.

    Probably better that we chat on the phone first – yeah, I will take your cold call – you get one minute – then I tell you I am or I am not interested.

    If I am interested lets get it going.

    If I am not interested you can be sure I will not be interested in hearing your “persuasion”.

  • Dennis Shiao

    Well-stated, Matt. I’m seeing more customization in cold outreach emails to me, but it’s still far too templated. This is the sort of stufff I’m now receiving:

    Dear $(NAME),

    Just read your latest blog post titled, $(TITLE). I enjoyed it! Now, I’d like to tell you about $(PRODUCT-NAME). Do you have time this week for me to show you how $(SUPERLATIVE-ADJECTIVE) our solution can be for $(COMPANY-NAME)?

    We can do better 🙂

  • Katrina Griffin

    I get these too. I’m already frustrated by the amount of non-solicited email I get, so to try to guilt me into responding just makes it even worse. Apparently, they must not realize I get at least 10 – 20 emails a week like this and every Friday I get at least 10 cold calls. I have just stopped answering my phone on Fridays. This is incredibly invasive. Another pet peeve of mine is when I put on my LinkedIn profile, “do not solicit” and “no sales calls,” but yet I still get sales people sending me messages non-stop. I could easily go on…

  • Barbara Giamanco

    Matt – crappy sales messaging is a real hot button with me. As I read through the list in your blog, I said to myself… yup, got that same email and was aggressively hounded by the same salesperson. These emails are so frequent and so bad, I wonder why sales leadership isn’t paying attention.

  • James Lewendon

    6 years ago I created an email template, then changed a few details to make the email personalised. It worked well. But that was 6 years ago.

    It’s amazing that some people still haven’t progressed from that.

    As you say, it takes 3-5 minutes to read through a blog, LinkedIn profile or Twitter. Yes you might not be able to send 80-100 emails a day, but the quality and level of engagement is so much better by taking your time to research and create your proposition on what you know about that actual person!

    As a sales person myself, it pains me to see people still sending such poor emails.