How not to piss of a lead you’re nurturing

This is totally off topic, and I apologize, but I had to get this off my chest. That said, on to the article I published on LinkedIn this morning:

How not to piss off a lead you’re nurturing

Why am I writing this? Because I had to block another inbox creeper. You know the kind. They send you a friendly note about their gewgaw. You write back politely telling them you are not interested.

They reply with a white paper offer. You write back with a firm, no thank you. And the cycle repeats until wham, you have been spammed with your web stats, an offer to fix them if we could just jump on a call to discuss?

Free knowledge is good, so you open the white paper and see nothing that would work for your business. You send a polite thank you + a brush off. And the cycle repeats until you click ‘block sender’ in your email client.

That is how not to nurture a lead.


Think of it as a partnership.

First off, read the damned email your lead sends. Pay attention to the wording and tone. If there’s a brush off in there, cease communications. You don’t want to piss off the prospect. And really, ‘no thank you,’ ‘we’re not interested,’ etc. is a closed door. Treat it as such.

If there’s no brush off, do your research. Look at the prospect’s web presence but don’t assume anything. You might see issues, and you should note them, but don’t point them out in your second email. You still don’t know your prospect’s business or needs. Don’t assume or your next exchange could be a brush off or worse, total silence.

+ Do summarize your read of their business and ask questions to check your read against reality. Look for ways you might partner together.

+Don’t push for a phone call yet. A lot can be done through email and it lowers the comfort bar. So use that to your advantage. Make friends with words.

+ Don’t suggest anything because what you want to sell may not be what your prospect is in the market to buy.

I can’t stress this enough. Most of the sales emails I get fall into this category and they go straight into the trash can. They also annoy me because a 5 second look at our website would have told the salesperson their gewgaw was not a good fit. So that’s two strikes against.

Remember: the key word is partner not ram your white paper, solution, gewgaw thing down your prospect’s throat. If you take that approach, you will be blacklisted/blocked and you will have alienated your lead.

How does that serve your business? It doesn’t. Why is this not obvious?

Lead nurturing is not a race to the sale. Stop treating it like it is. Prospects are people too. Respect our time and knowledge of our business. If we say, your gewgaw is not a fit, we mean it. Let it go.

Who am I?

I’m project manager for IT at a biotech trade journal who receives far too many sales emails. For fun and fan enjoyment, I write epic fantasy books and well, I had a newsletter, but a certain fictional character took it over. Not sure what that says about me since I created this character.

I doubt anyone will read this, but writing it made me feel better. So thank you for letting me share my work frustrations!