Listen to the audio version of this post here.
Maybe I’m too skeptical.
Something about the guy’s email just didn’t land right.
“I enjoyed your LinkedIn post about balancing virtual and real-life collaboration,” he wrote, although he and I are not connected on LinkedIn. He went on to mention he’s writing an article about asynchronous meetings.
Then: “We’re looking for communications experts and remote work enthusiasts to share their expertise.”
Finally: “Would you be interested in getting involved?”
Oh, I get it.
It’s just like the pitches I’ve been getting from those podcasters lately.
“I’m reaching out because I really enjoyed our conversation when you were on the podcast.” And he wants me back! “This is an opportunity for you to grow your business and revenue as we expand the impact we’re having on our audience.”
So, he’s enthusiastically extending an offer. “I’d love to have you involved!”
For a fee, of course.
At least this other guy was straightforward about what he’s up to when he invited me to come back on his podcast. “I’m writing to invite you to be one of our VIP guests. To be up front, there is a cost associated with this package.”
And he must believe persistence pays. He just wrote again the other day with a warning. “The price of our VIP Podcast Interview will be raised in October…”
It’s an age-old sales strategy, isn’t it?
Reminds me of those companies who put out annual lists of Outstanding Entrepreneurs/Consultants/Coaches/whatever. Fill in the blank. There’s a list for almost everyone.
And you’ll be basking in the glory of your name on that list in big, bold print … right after you hand over your credit card.
Appealing to our egos often works when somebody wants to sell us something.
I like to think I’ve wised up. But maybe I’m too jaded?
Back to the writer who wants my thoughts about asynchronous meetings.
I could have just deleted his email. Instead, I thanked him for reaching out. And …
“I’m not sure what “get involved” means in this context. I’m guessing you want me to pay for placement in your article? I’m going by other emails I’ve received lately from people who want to interview me for their podcasts … after they collect a fee.”
“It’s very enterprising, and I wouldn’t be interested in that kind of arrangement.”
In fact, this is not an effort to make extra money by charging communication consultants for the privilege of sharing their expertise on behalf of his client who’s paying him to write the piece.
“There’s no fee involved here,” he wrote back. “We’re looking for experts on the topic to quote from and expand upon within the content.”
“Perhaps I could have made that clearer from the get-go, apologies for the confusion.”
Oh, I get it …
He really is a writer, hoping to write an article citing a communication consultant about … communication. Just as he said.
Who would have guessed?
I imagine you sitting there, reading this, and shaking your head.
“Catherine, you’re thinking, “could you just take the guy at face value? Do you have to jump to the conclusion that every stranger who emails you is like those ‘Nigerian prince’ guys who show up in your inbox every damn day?”
Not that I thought this marketer was using a fictitious identity, mind you. He didn’t write from a Gmail account, after all; his email address identified his company. And he does have a LinkedIn profile that says he’s a Content Executive and Freelance Writer.
I simply assumed his first email was a pitch in disguise. Why? Because I get so many emails that are pitches, some quite open and many masquerading as something else.
Maybe, like me, you’re a little tired of fishing expeditions in your inbox.
Or maybe you do the fishing? Sending cold emails isn’t spamming, in your book, it’s lead generation. How else would you make connections (and ultimately sales) if you didn’t reach out to people that way?
And there’s probably somebody reading right now who got the deal of a lifetime responding to a cold email with an offer tucked inside.
Share your thoughts in a comment here.
I would’ve said some thing like this… wow thank you for this great opportunity however my schedule is jampacked with opportunities to pay me to speak at their events. If I ever get an opening, which I probably won’t ever have, I can contact you then.
P.s. Catherine no worries…. I’m jaded and skeptical too… Cindy
It’s good to know I have company, Cindy!
Email has become such a sketchy communication medium. It is no wonder why every email that comes into my inbox is viewed with skepticism – especially with a “cold-call” like greeting feel to it. But then again, every time you correspond with someone new in this medium, it will always have a “cold-call” feel to it.
Often the marketers type communications “need you, more than you need them.” But to distinguish the difference is virtually impossible. How could someone communicate it better their intentions? Would, “I really enjoyed your [article/posting/blog], and I am writing a [book/article/publication]. I would like to ask permission to quote you in my work….” have worked any better?
Was the message being sent lost in the clutter of the spam that we are inundated with? Have be become so skeptical now of anything that arrives in our inbox that our first instinct is to think it of spam, or could the way it is written have made a difference? Or would the spammers just change their language to the same.
Its a real case of Pandora’s Box isn’t it? Is it something that we can ever close?
Yes, it would be tough to close that Pandora’s Box, Greg. We’ve been well-training by the spammers and scammers who email us.
I think your suggested wording would have made a difference for me. It was the vague invitation to “get involved” that made me pretty sure this was some kind of sales pitch. I often suggest to my clients that they make sure their key message is clear, concise, and close the top. The longer we read before we get to “the ask” the more our skepticism seems to build.