Wow! I’m still a little stunned over a phone call I got from a guy interested in our email marketing service. This is a true story with just the name changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
Okay, so it’s a normal morning at the office and I pick-up the sales line, on the other end is a guy I’ll call Jeff (think Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) Seems Jeff has a need for email marketing for his custom baked goods. Jeff is from California by the way. He tells me he has a list of about 5,500 email addresses he’s collected from friends who have purchased his brownies and cookies.
He tells me “Dude, I’ve got this righteous list of people I want to send updates to when I’ve made a new batch of brownies and cookies.” I asked if his list is opt-in. He says “Huh?” I said, “Did these people opt-in through your website or by other means give you permission to email them?” Jeff says, “Dude these are my friends of course they want to get my emails.” I said, “wow, you have a lot of friends.” Jeff says, “Yes I do!”
I then said, “Jeff, I’m going to go out on a limb here and ask, do these brownies and cookies have any… how do I say this, any special ingredients?” Jeff says “Of course, I make them with medical grade chronic!” “Chronic?” I asked. “Yeah dude, weed, these are pot brownies and cookies!” He said.
Holy Crap! I thought to myself. I said, “Jeff, do you have a license to sell medical marijuana?” Jeff replied, “No but I have a medical marijuana card.” “I’m sorry Jeff, I can’t help you and I have to be blunt (pun intended) with you, I think this is a really bad idea not to mention really, really illegal.”
So we went back and forth for a bit and I suggested he try selling the brownies and cookies sans the special ingredient, but he is a man on a mission. I thank him for his interest and said goodbye.
Wow! I’m still shaking my head.
Like many other reputable email service providers we all occasionally get the call from someone who has a plan for email marketing but after vetting their list, what their selling, etc. we sometimes have to turn down business. When we get a call from someone who wants to send 1-million emails a week, but has no opt-in records or have purchased the list, we cannot help them. We try to explain the “true” email marketing philosophy of building an opt-in list, using best practices, building the relationship, etc.
Unfortunately, some people just don’t get it. So we move on to help the next business and we continue to educate and inform. I’ve always believed that sales, is more about education than selling. If you give your potential customers the knowledge, guidance and tools they need to succeed, they will buy with confidence and your business relationship will start on firm ground and both parties will benefits from the relationship.
Takeaway: So, if in the future you receive an email newsletter from a guy named Jeff and he’s selling cookies and brownies, you might want to consider passing and instead head down to the local store for some cookies made by elves in a tree. Dood! I’m just sayin’.