They Said ‘Please Stop Spamming Us.’
How To Go From The ‘Leave Me Alone’ Objection to ‘Let’s Talk About It.’
By George L. Rosario, Bible Based Business Consultant at GC Rosario Group
I was sending them one email a month. I wasn’t sending junk mail boasting about my success, or my life, or my accolades, or my anything. I was sending information that I found useful, and thought perhaps they could find useful. At no moment did I ask them for business. As a matter of fact, I’ve offered more professional assistance as a consultant via my blogs than I ever did on my drip campaigns. I never even asked them to call me or to give me business. Do some businesses send out a please give us your business email or mailer monthly? Of course they do. This is something I’ve never done. All I was sending them monthly was an email with information I thought would bless them.
For those of you who are not in sales, services, business or ministry, this is called a drip campaign. Some drip campaigns are call-to-action emails or mailers that directly ask for business. They do not hide their intentions and are pretty straight forward with their request. I see nothing wrong with them as long as they don’t start reaching my inbox on a daily basis. To me, this is when it goes from drip campaign to spam.
My drip campaigns are informative. They share information with my future clients that is current, comprehensive and of considerable significance. They are meant to bring value without asking for anything in return. My contact information is in my signature in case they find the need to contact me for business or to answer any questions. They go out once a month (12 for an entire day year). I do not flood my clients inbox with emails from our company because going from a drip to a flood leaves the future client feeling targeted and abused. If a future client ever has to unsubscribe to my drip campaign, I know I’ve gone too far.
What is a drip campaign? It is the practice in which the service provider sets future clients on an automatic email campaign via a CRM. What is a CRM? It is a customer relationship management system through which a business or other organization administers its interactions with customers. The business or organization uses data analysis to study large amounts of information, and then share that information with the public in an organized manner. The best definition I’ve found for information is processed, organized and structured data which provides context for data and enables a decision making process. I got this definition from Wikipedia.
From the definition of the word information from Wikipedia, we can see that both types of drip campaigns I mentioned above, the ask-for-business campaign and the informative campaign fall into the description. The way I differentiate between the two is by labeling the ask-for-business campaign as me-centric information, and the informative campaign as you-centered information. There is nothing wrong with either one when done correctly. My personality just functions better using the you-centered information.
I gave you this much background information prior to diving into the situation so that you would have some real context to refer back to. See, now you know that my drip campaign is not spammy since it only goes out once a month (3rd Friday of every month). You also know that my drip campaign is not asking or begging for business from my future clients, but rather blessing the future clients with them-centered information that will benefit them whether they call me or not. I’m from the give it all away school of thought. You also may remember that the title of this blog is, They Said ‘Please Stop Spamming Us.’
As I’ve already mentioned, I send out a monthly email to my future clients on the 3rd Friday of every month, sharing information with them that I believe benefits them and their lives. These are not sent out to people from an email list I purchase. This email list is not a list comprised of strangers I know nothing about. Some of the people on my list are important people who I’ve exchanged contact information with at one of my events. Some are people who purposely sign up for the email. Others are people who I’ve come across that I’ve felt the you-centric information I share can bring value to. All are people who I respect and want to do good for.
To my surprise, I received a rather angry email from a future client who typed “Please Stop Spamming Us” in the subject line. Have you ever had one of those moments when you freeze, your body gets cold, you feel a jolt of pain in your heart, your stomach turns, your brain starts spitting out millions of scary scenarios, your feet feel like they are in cement blocks, your forehead starts to sweat, your armpits sweat more than usual, your lower back has the cold sweats, your tongue gets dry in your mouth, and the room almost starts spinning? No? OK, so I guess I’m the only one that has suffered a tiny little panic attack when something goes wrong.
This is exactly how I felt, TIMES TEN when I read “Please Stop Spamming Us” in that subject line. This is because one, I dislike spammers just as much as the next guy and two, I recognized the person as someone who I truly respect. So I did what any self-respecting, integrity driven, grown man should do. I added the individual’s phone number to my VIP numbers on my cell phone and asked this individual to call me and gave them my cell phone number. I got a call a few days later, got all those anxiety feelings I described above, immediately convinced myself it was not anxiety but excitement, and answered the call. This turned out to be one of the most interesting phone calls I’ve ever received.
The moment I said hello, I was hit with a very angry, “I am so sick of your emails! If I get one more, I’m going to report you and sue you!” You would think this would have brought up all those feelings of anxiety again. If anything should have given me a panic attack, it was the words “sue you” that should have done it. I remained calm though because I knew I had done nothing unethical or against the law. I apologized for having offended them, and asked which email out of the monthly emails was the one that offended them the most. She said, “all of them.” I asked what about them was offensive and she replied, “everything.” I sensed she was still closed and stand-offish to conversation so I asked her for her email address so I could remove her from my list.
I then did something completely unscripted and unplanned. I asked her if she could forward me one of the emails she received so that I could make sure I never sent that type of information out to anyone again. I explained to her that my goal was not to offend, but to help people. Then I asked her the question that cleared it all up. I asked, “Did any of my emails ever ask you for business or for money?” To which she replied, “Yes, even the one I got this morning.” I was getting this call on a Tuesday. Remember, I said I send out my email on the third Friday of every month.
“My apologies for the mix-up, but I did not send out an email this morning.” That was what I said, to which she answered, “Yes you did, I’m looking at it right now.” Now we were getting somewhere. I asked her to scroll down to the signature in the email and tell me what she saw. She said, I see your name and then there’s your link on the bottom that asks me to donate to your cause. I asked her to read the email address to me and when she did, I got it! Someone was using my identity and their link with an email address that was similar to mine with a “.” added in the middle to solicit funds from people. She said she was getting up to 4 emails a day. I explained to her that the email with the “.” in the middle of the name was not coming from me. I asked her to forward me one of their emails so that I could investigate them and report them. I offered to send her a free gift card for two for her favorite restaurant as a friendly gesture to compensate her for the confusion.
Her tone changed immediately. She asked why I would be sending her a gift card if this wasn’t even my fault. I told her I was also on the receiving end of fraudulent emails, and was taken once for some money. I explained that as a businessman, entrepreneur and public figure, I probably receive more spam mail than the President of the United States, and that I knew how frustrating it is to deal with it. I explained that I was impressed that she actually reached out personally to get it to stop, and that I appreciated that she had brought it to my attention so that I could make sure my name wasn’t being used to spam and defraud others.
Now, rather than being upset with me, she was ready to become the Mary Russell to my inner Sherlock Holmes (minus the wife part since I am already a happily married man and she is a happily married woman as well). We partnered up and started contacting the people on my mailing list together to make sure they paid close attention to the email address that was being used to solicit funds from them. We got to everyone on the list and told them that I would never solicit funds from them using my business or personal email, and that if they ever received any request from a George L. Rosario asking for funds, they should call me directly. I gave them my direct office phone number and welcomed them to contact me directly either via phone or through my website.
This wonderful business woman went from being a future client to being one of my strongest supporters and best ongoing consulting clients. She is also a great referral resource, telling everyone in her field (financial services and education) about the services GC Rosario Group provides. She became a client when I was still working as a third party consultant for another firm, and came over as one of my most faithful clients when we launched our own. She even launched a fraud protection education program which she teaches her clients to make sure they aren’t taken advantage of via fraudulent emails.
It is very easy to take offense when you hear someone tell you to leave them alone, or accuses you of spamming them. This is especially offensive to someone who is not a spammer or a fraud. What I learned from this incident is that it is better to turn potential offense into opportunity, rather than allowing it to turn into something uglier.
If you are in business, in ministry, an entrepreneur, a preacher, or any other position that requires you to address the public on a regular basis, learn to be less offended and more proactive and service minded. If someone accuses you of something (like being a spammer) that you know is not true, don’t attack them for it. Open up a welcoming path to dialogue and civil discourse until you can find some common ground to grow from. Let your approach, wrapped in love, patience, understanding, care, grace and gratefulness be what changes a person’s mind, and let’s them see you as a friend rather than an enemy. You never know when this moment’s Saul can become tomorrow’s Paul (read Acts 9:1–19 and Acts 13:9).
George L. Rosario is a Brooklyn NY born & raised businessman & entrepreneur turned consultant. He started GC Rosario Group with his lovely wife Claudia. With over 30 years of service to the marketplace in NYC, George has relocated and been graciously adopted by the business community of South Florida. He now travels the country helping businesses and organizations thrive in today’s noisy environment. The post-Covid era forced many to close their doors, but also opened new doors of opportunity, growth and prosperity for innovative thinkers. George & Claudia Rosario help companies, businesses, organizations and teams develop the necessary skillset and plan of action to not just survive, but thrive in this new world. GC Rosario Group helps both secular and Christian based institutions meet their goals.