Cold pitching is a tough job. I’m terrible at it myself, and I respect people who can do it well. I acknowledge that sales people have to start somewhere, and I don’t mind receiving well-thought-out, inbound pitches (via email) from time to time.
I receive many inbound pitches for all kinds of marketing services. It’s rare that I’m in immediate need of the exact service somebody’s pitching me when I’m first contacted. But if it’s a well-conceived proposition for a service I could imagine using someday, I file the pitch and often come back to it. I’ve ended up striking very large media deals with companies that initiated contact with me this way.
On occasion I’ll send a quick email back to acknowledge a cold pitch, but more often than not I don’t. Some people consider that bad business etiquette; I had a boss once who said that “even if the guy on the phone is selling vacuum cleaners, you should hear them out and only then politely decline.” But I don’t buy the philosophy that every uninvited pitch deserves a personal response (especially when the email was sent to a general “marketing@” or “press@” email address.) And apparently, that just pushes some sales people to completely lose it.
In browsing through my archived emails tagged ‘pitches’ the other day, I was struck by some common elements that made many of them either very strong or incredibly weak. I’ll blog about some of these from time to time to make my point.
Here’s the first one. How likely do you think it is that I would ever contact this sales person to discuss advertising opportunities based on the content and tone of this email?
Side note: he had emailed us exactly one other time, 2 weeks ago, and as far as I’m aware we’ve never received a phone call from this person.
To his question of when a good time would be to speak with me about advertising on the site he represents, I can direct him here.
Next in this series: I’ll highlight some effective techniques that I’ve seen good salespeople use in their cold pitches.