My clients love to send me prospecting messages they receive from sellers. They know that the content is fabulous fodder for my upcoming book. And, I like to analyze each message as a reminder of what works, and what doesn’t, in prospecting today. Sadly, most fall into the latter category.

Douglas, a senior executive in the US, recently forwarded an e-mail trail from a technology seller. He included his reply to the seller as he was curious to know if his response had crossed a line.

You be the judge.

Here is the seller’s fourth attempt in a string of traditional “feature-laden” e-mails offering no trace of understanding of Douglas’ company.

“Good Day Douglas. Apologies if I am bothering you. I was wondering if my emails are reaching you. It would be really great if you can kindly acknowledge the receipt of the same. It would be wonderful if you could also let us know your thoughts and also a good date and time that work well with your calendar for a brief discussion. Looking forward to your kind reply.”

And Douglas’s response.

“My thoughts are that it is more than a little presumptuous for a cold-calling email string to escalate to a point where you imply I am rude for not acknowledging unsolicited sales calls.  I do not need your services, and I “kindly” suggest you re-think your tactics.”

I’m guessing this wasn’t the reaction this seller was aiming for.

Coincidentally I was hit by a similar hustle from an impatient vendor. After attending a free webinar on accelerating the book writing process (yes, I am still in the process of birthing my first bestseller) and a month of ridiculously frequent e-mails, I received this:

“Dear Jill – About a month ago I first contacted you about helping you become the published authority that people trust. … I haven’t heard from you and can only assume that means you have no interest in doubling or even tripling your business with a book…”

Wow. I’m still reeling from that last line! While I am sure his intent was to either have me rethink my inertia or to elevate my guilt for the wall of silence, the result from my perspective was the obliteration of his credibility.

Here’s what’s sad about this situation. His e-mails landed at a time when I was on the speaking schedule from hell, when sleep was a luxury, clients were a priority and unsolicited sales messages weren’t. I had flagged his earlier e-mails with the intent of connecting with him when I was ready to refocus on my book. This self-centred, and frankly offensive, approach prompted me to remove him from my “to action” file and run to the arms of his competitors.

And so, with no sugar coating, here’s my point.

You may be ready to sell something today but that doesn’t mean your prospect is ready to buy. << Tweet This!

My failure to respond may simply be an indication that I am drowning in the quicksand of my own priorities and have no bandwidth to address yours. Yet.

Sending out mass mailings that require little to no effort on your part will generate more of the same from your prospects. Why should I bother to respond to you if you’ve made no effort beyond the generic “spray and pray” e-mails that are the single biggest credibility suckers in prospecting today?

I’d love to hear from you! What is the single biggest turn off, that you’ve experienced, when it comes to prospecting e-mails? And, have you ever witnessed something that actually worked? Leave your response in the comments below.

Good selling!