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Should Sellers Respond To Personalized Cold Emails “Out Of Respect?”

by David Brock on July 11th, 2022

99% of the cold emails I get are personalized. Usually, it’s David, though only my mother calls me David, most people, unless they are angry call me Dave. I’m most commonly called “You Jerk!!” Sometimes it says my company name, “Excellenc.” That’s not a mispelling, look at my email, but they still haven’t done their homework. The company’s actual name is Partners In EXCELLENCE.

A large number of those personalized emails are actually right, addressed to Dave or David, only close friends say “You Jerk,” they actually know me. And these emails refer to my company name correctly.

Of the correctly personalized cold emails, I still ignore at least 85% of those emails. Sometimes, I actually feel a little guilty. As a seller myself, constantly prospecting for new clients, I know how hard it is to get a response. Even, “Thanks for the note, right now I have no interests….”

I think, that I should acknowledge the effort. But then I look deeper. 70% never should have been sent to me. Both I and my company are not in their ICP. We work with DevOps companies, Medical Device companies, Professional Services, SaaS, Industrial Products, Technology, Financial Services, Basic Materials, even Not For Profits. But if you look at my profile or our company website, we have nothing to do with DevOps software solutions. the primary Medical Devices I use are an occasional box of Band Aids, sometimes a wrap if I sprained something. We don’t by electronic components, unless they are all soldered together in something like a computer, tablet, or phone.

About 15% of the cold outreaches come from companies that I am already a customer of. They aren’t trying to up/cross sell me, they are trying to sell me what I already have. “Are you getting the value you should out of your CRM system. I’d like to talk to you about why you might want to consider switching….” I actually considered responding to that one. I wanted to hear their argument for cancelling our current licenses then re-subscribing.

I’ve come to learn not to feel guilty not responding to these personalized cold outreaches. They haven’t done their homework, they haven’t earned a response.

There is a small percentage left. Well written notes, potentially relevant. Some I’m actually interested in learning more and respond with questions. Some would have no idea that we have solved the issue, we don’t have the issue, or it’s not a priority–but they couldn’t know that. I always acknowledge those, I thank them for the outreach, but politely let them know it wouldn’t be a good use of each other’s time.

I have deep respect for sales people who execute their jobs professionally. People who do their homework, people who take the time to write something impactful. While I may not be interested, I do want them to know how much I appreciate their professionalism and want to encourage them to keep up their good work.

Sadly, I only do a handful of those responses a week, out of the hundreds of emails I get. In some ways, it’s a relief. It would be a real time management problem if more people started engaging professionally and doing their jobs the way they should.

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